WEDNESDAY, Dec. 4, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Palm and finger temperatures are significantly increased in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) without active inflammation compared with healthy controls, according to a study published online Nov. 25 in Scientific Reports.

Alfred Gatt, Ph.D., from the University of Malta, and colleagues compared baseline thermographic patterns of the fingers and palms for RA patients without active synovitis in their hands to those of healthy individuals. Data were compared for 31 RA patients and 51 healthy controls who underwent medical infrared imaging of the regions of interest (ROIs).

The researchers found that the mean temperatures of the palm regions and fingers of healthy participants differed significantly from their RA counterparts (palm regions: 29.37 versus 31.4 degrees Celsius; fingers: 27.16 versus 30.22 degrees Celsius). In all ROIs, RA patients exhibited higher temperatures. Palm and finger temperatures were significantly increased in RA without active inflammation in logistic regression models.

“Thermal imaging is an emerging technology within medicine and has the potential to become an important clinical tool as disease processes can vary the magnitude and pattern of emitted heat in a person with rheumatoid arthritis,” Gatt said in a statement.

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