Assessment of Critical Renal Ischemia With Real-Time Infrared Imaging

Alexander M. Gorbach, Hengliang Wang, Nadeem N. Dhanani, Fred A. Gage, Peter A. Pinto, Paul D. Smith, Allan D. Kirk, Eric A. Elster*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Currently visual and tactile clues such as color, mottling, and tissue turgor are used in the operating room for subjective assessments of organ ischemia. Studies have demonstrated that infrared (IR) imaging is a reliable tool to identify perfusion of brain tumors and kidneys during human surgery. Intraoperative IR imaging has the potential for more objective real-time detection and quantitative assessment of organ viability including early ischemia. We hypothesize, by detecting variations of the IR signal, we can assess the degree to which renal surface temperature reflects underlying renal ischemia. To address this hypothesis, IR imaging-derived temperature fluctuations were evaluated during laparotomy in a porcine model (n = 15). These temperature profiles then underwent spectral (frequency) analysis to assess their relationship to well-described oscillations of the microcirculation. Materials and methods: An IR camera was positioned 30-60 cm above the exposed kidneys. Images (3-5 μm wavelength) were collected (1.0/s) at baseline, during warm renal ischemia, and during reperfusion. Dominant frequency (DF) of the tissue temperature fluctuations were determined by a Fourier transformation (spectral) analysis. Results: IR images immediately showed which segments of the kidney were ischemic. DF at ∼0.008 Hz that corresponds to blood flow oscillations was observed in thermal profiles. The oscillations were diminished or disappeared after 25 min of warm ischemia and were recovered with reperfusion in a time-dependent fashion. Oscillations were attenuated substantially in ischemic segments, but not in perfused segments of the kidney. Conclusions: The described oscillations can be measured noninvasively using IR imaging in the operating room, as represented by the DF, and may be an early marker of critical renal ischemia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-318
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • and ischemia
  • blood flow regulation
  • infrared imaging
  • kidney vasculature


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