Thermoscale study: patient self-screening for diabetic foot infections (Dr. Laura Arts)

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


Background: Early diagnosis of diabetic foot infection (DFI) is critical to prevent amputation. An increase in foot temperature may be an early warning sign of inflammation or infection. The Thermo Scale is a weighing scale with integrated sensors that measure weight, body fat percentage and foot temperature. The sensitivity and specificity of the Thermo Scale in detecting diabetic foot infections is unknown.
Methods: Two groups of diabetic patients were exposed to a temperature measurement of both feet: a group with severe foot infections and a control group without any foot problem. A receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve was used to determine the accuracy of the Thermo Scale as a test to detect infection.
Results: Ninety-seven patients were included, 52 in the infected group and 45 in the control group. There was a significant (p=0.001) higher temperature difference in the infected group (3.3 ±2.5 °C) than in the control group (0.9 ± 0.8 °C). The ROC curve allowed us to choose an optimal sensitivity of 88.5% and specificity of 66.7%, which corresponded with a temperature difference of 1.15°C. No correlation was found between temperature difference and clinical or blood sampling inflammatory parameters.
Conclusions: The Thermo Scale reliably detects diabetic foot infection. Application of this device in a patient self-screening setting seems promising.
Date of Award1 Dec 2015
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorDimitri Aerden (Promotor)


  • Diabetic Foot Infection

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