Dynamics of temperature changes in the rheumatoid hand after selected thermotherapy treatments
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Online publication date: 2011-08-30
Reumatologia 2011;49(4):239-243
Objective : Heat therapy and cryotherapy are often used in a rehabilitation programme of rheumatoid arthritis patients. There are not many publications concerning thermotherapy effects on the rheumatoid hand after these treatments. The aim of the study was to evaluate the changes of microcirculation on the basis of temperature variations (120 minutes – observation time) after thermotherapy treatment commonly used in RA patients.
Materials and methods: 27 patients with rheumatoid arthritis (average age ± standard deviation [SD], 57 ±7.9 y) were divided into two groups. In group I 14 patients had one hand exposed to infrared radiation (IR-A, B, C) and in group II – 13 patients underwent treatment of cooling the hand with cold air (–30°C). Surface temperature was evaluated by thermovisual observation. Each person had 8 pictures taken at several points of time: before the treatment, and 5, 15, 30, 45, 60 and 120 minutes after the treatment.
Results : Significant differences in temperature taken at the subsequent time points were observed in each group only during first 5 minutes after the treatment (p < 0.05). The maximal increase in temperature observed directly after the treatment IR-A, B, C was 3.5°C. After cold air application (–30°C), there was a maximal decrease in temperature (6.4°C) taken directly after the treatment (Fig. 1 and 2).
Conclusions : Significant differences in hand surface temperature were observed only for 5 minutes after both IR-A, B, C radiation and –30°C cold air treatment. During heat therapy treatment, the temperature was above the baseline temperature, however during cryotherapy treatment it was below the baseline temperature.
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