A Multicenter Study of the Validity and Reliability of Responses to Hand Cold Challenge as Measured by Laser Speckle Contrast Imaging and Thermography: Outcome Measures for Systemic Sclerosis–Related Raynaud's Phenomenon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • External authors:
  • Elizabeth J. Marjanovic
  • Tonia L. Moore
  • John Allen
  • Marina E. Anderson
  • Jason Britton
  • Francesco Del Galdo
  • Christopher P. Denton
  • Bridgett Griffiths
  • Frances Hall
  • Kevin Howell
  • Audrey MacDonald
  • Neil J. McHugh
  • Joanne B. Manning
  • John D. Pauling
  • Christopher Roberts
  • Jacqueline A. Shipley
  • Andrea K. Murray


Objective: Reliable and objective outcome measures to facilitate clinical trials of novel treatments for systemic sclerosis (SSc)–related Raynaud's phenomenon (RP) are badly needed. Laser speckle contrast imaging (LSCI) and thermography are noninvasive measures of perfusion that have shown excellent potential. This multicenter study was undertaken to determine the reliability and validity of a hand cold challenge protocol using LSCI, standard thermography, and low-cost cell phone/mobile phone thermography (henceforth referred to as mobile thermography) in patients with SSc-related RP. Methods: Patients with RP secondary to SSc were recruited from 6 UK tertiary care centers. The patients underwent cold challenge on 2 consecutive days. Changes in cutaneous blood flow/skin temperature at each visit were imaged simultaneously using LSCI, standard thermography, and mobile thermography. Measurements included area under the curve (AUC) for reperfusion/rewarming and maximum blood flow rate/skin temperature after rewarming (MAX). Test–retest reliability was assessed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs). Estimated latent correlations (estimated from multilevel models, taking values between −1 and 1; denoted as rho values) were used to assess the convergent validity of LSCI and thermography. Results: In total, 159 patients (77% with limited cutaneous SSc) were recruited (84% female, median age 63.3 years). LSCI and standard thermography both had substantial reliability, with ICCs for the reperfusion/rewarming AUC of 0.67 (95% confidence interval [95% CI] 0.54, 0.76) and 0.68 (95% CI 0.58, 0.80), respectively, and ICCs for the MAX of 0.64 (95% CI 0.52, 0.75) and 0.72 (95% CI 0.64, 0.81), respectively. Very high latent correlations were present for the AUCs of LSCI and thermography (ρ = 0.94; 95% CI 0.87, 1.00) and for the AUCs of standard and mobile thermography (ρ = 0.98; 95% CI 0.94, 1.00). Conclusion: This is the first multicenter study to examine the reliability and validity of cold challenge using LSCI and thermography in patients with SSc-related RP. LSCI and thermography both demonstrated good potential as outcome measures. LSCI, standard thermography, and mobile thermography had very high convergent validity.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)903-911
Number of pages9
JournalArthritis and Rheumatology
Issue number6
Early online date18 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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