Objective evaluation of immediate reading skin prick test applying image planimetric and reaction thermometry analyses
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The skin prick test is used to diagnose patients' sensitization to antigens through a mediated IgE response. It is a practical and quick exam, but its diagnosis depends on instruments for measuring the allergic response and observer's interpretation. The conventional method for inferring about the allergic reaction is performed from the dimensions of the wheals, which are measured using a ruler or a caliper. To make this diagnosis less dependent on human interpretation, the present study proposes two alternative methods to infer about the allergic reaction: computational determination of the wheal area and a study of the temperature variation of the patient's skin in the puncture region. For this purpose, prick test using histamine was performed on 20 patients randomly selected. The areas were determined by the conventional method using the dimensions of the wheals measured with a digital caliper 30 min after the puncture. The wheal areas were also determined by a Python algorithm using photographs of the puncture region obtained with a smartphone. A variable named circularity deviation was also determined for each analyzed wheal. The temperature variation was monitored using an infrared temperature sensor, which collected temperature data for 30 min. All results were statistically compared or correlated. The results showed that the computational method to infer the wheal areas did not differ significantly from the areas determined by the conventional method (p-value = 0.07585). Temperature monitoring revealed that there was a consistent temperature increase in the first minutes after the puncture, followed by stabilization, so that the data could be adjusted by a logistic equation (R2 = 0.96). This adjustment showed that the optimal time to measure the temperature is 800 s after the puncture, when the temperature stabilization occurs. The results have also shown that this temperature stabilization has a significant positive correlation with wheal area (p-value = 0.0015). Thus, we concluded that the proposed computational method is more accurate to infer the wheal area when compared to the traditional method, and that the temperature may be used as an alternative parameter to infer about the allergic reaction.
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