Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 13

Search results for: thermoregulation

13 The Perspective of Smart Thermoregulation in Personal Protective Equipment

Authors: Alireza Saidi

Abstract:

Aside from injuries due to direct contact with hot or cold substances or objects, exposure to extreme temperatures in the workplace involves physical hazards to workers. On the other hand, a poorly acclimatized worker may have reduced performance and alertness and may, therefore, be more vulnerable to the risk of accidents and injuries. Due to the incompatibility of the standards put in place with certain workplaces and the lack of thermoregulation in many protective equipments, thermal strains remain among the physical risks most present in many work sectors. However, many of these problems can be overcome thanks to the potential of intelligent textile technologies allowing intelligent thermoregulation in protective equipment. Nowadays, technologies such as heating elements, cooling elements are applied in products intended for sport and leisure, and research work has been carried out in the integration of temperature sensors and thermal stress detectors in personal protective equipment. However, the usage of all of these technologies in personal protective equipment remains very marginal. This article presents a portrait of the current state of intelligent thermoregulation systems by carrying out a synthesis of technical developments, which is accompanied by a gap analysis of current developments. Thus, the research work necessary for the adaptation and integration of intelligent thermoregulation systems with personal protective equipment is discussed in order to offer a perspective of future developments.

Keywords: personal protective equipment, smart textiles, thermoregulation, thermal strain

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12 Whole Body Cooling Hypothermia Treatment Modelling Using a Finite Element Thermoregulation Model

Authors: Ana Beatriz C. G. Silva, Luiz Carlos Wrobel, Fernando Luiz B. Ribeiro

Abstract:

This paper presents a thermoregulation model using the finite element method to perform numerical analyses of brain cooling procedures as a contribution to the investigation on the use of therapeutic hypothermia after ischemia in adults. The use of computational methods can aid clinicians to observe body temperature using different cooling methods without the need of invasive techniques, and can thus be a valuable tool to assist clinical trials simulating different cooling options that can be used for treatment. In this work, we developed a FEM package applied to the solution of the continuum bioheat Pennes equation. Blood temperature changes were considered using a blood pool approach and a lumped analysis for intravascular catheter method of blood cooling. Some analyses are performed using a three-dimensional mesh based on a complex geometry obtained from computed tomography medical images, considering a cooling blanket and a intravascular catheter. A comparison is made between the results obtained and the effects of each case in brain temperature reduction in a required time, maintenance of body temperature at moderate hypothermia levels and gradual rewarming.

Keywords: brain cooling, finite element method, hypothermia treatment, thermoregulation

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11 A Study of Evaporative Heat Loss from the Skin of Baby Elephants (Elephas maximus maximus) at Elephant Transit Home

Authors: G .D. B. N. Kulasaooriya, H. B. S. Ariyarathne, I. Abeygunawardene, A. A. J. Rafarathne, B. V. Perera

Abstract:

Elephant is the largest resident of the wild and has small surface to volume ratio as well as less number of sweat glands which cause challenges to the thermoregulation of this mammal. However, this megaherbivore has adopted specialised meachanisms to maintain its thermal balance through behavioral adaptations, ear flapping and well anastomosed arterioles and venules of the ear. Nevertheless, little is known on the involvement of the skin in the process of thermoregulation. The present study was undertaken to monitor the water evaporation rate from the skin of unrestrained wild elephant calves throughout the day and to understand its importance in the thermoregulation. Seven baby elephants housed in the elephant transit home, Udawalawe were used. Ambient temparature, relative humidity (RH) and radiation heat load was monitored throughout the day of the study period. Similarly, surface temparature of the skin was taken at six points including lateral ear pinna, lateral body and the rump during the same period. The skin water evaporation was also measured from the same sites using cobolt chloride method. The surface are of the skin was determined by assigning geometrical shapes to each body part. The results showed that the ambient temperature gradually increased with the day reaching maximum around 3.00 pm. The relative humidity was lowest early in the morning. The radiation heat load did not show any significant change in the study period. The skin temperature was different among lateral ear pinna, lateral body and the rump where the highest temperature was on the rump and the lowest on the lateral ear pinna. The skin temperature gradually increase with increasing ambient temperature but there was not a strong correlation (R2 =53.53) between these two. The skin temperature had strong correlation with RH (p<0.05 R2 =70.84% ) but a significant relationship was not considered since the radiation heat load was not varying in large scale. The skin evaporative water loss had a weak negative correlation with ambient temperature (correlation coefficient= -0.01) whereas strong positive correlation with RH (correlation coefficient= 25.275 ) and no corelation with radiation heat load. It also appeared that skin water loss increases as the skin temperature increased. In the present study, it was observed that on average, skin of the baby elephant looses 403 g/m2/h of water. Based on these observations it can be concluded that a large volume of water is evaporated from the skin of baby elephants and evaporative heat loss may be contributing significantly to the thermoregulation. However, further investigation on the influence of environmental factors on evaporative heat loss has to be conducted to understand the thermoregulatory mechanisms of the baby elephant.

Keywords: thermoregulation, behavioral adaptations, evaporation, elephant

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10 Evidence of Behavioural Thermoregulation by Dugongs (Dugong dugon) at the High Latitude Limit to Their Range in Eastern Australia

Authors: Daniel R. Zeh, Michelle R. Heupel, Mark Hamann, Rhondda Jones, Colin J. Limpus, Helene Marsh

Abstract:

Marine mammals live in an environment with water temperatures nearly always lower than the mammalian core body temperature of 35 - 38°C. Marine mammals can lose heat at high rates and have evolved a range of adaptations to minimise heat loss. Our project tracked dugongs to examine if there was a discoverable relationship between the animals’ movements and the temperature of their environment that might suggest behavioural thermoregulation. Twenty-nine dugongs were fitted with acoustic and satellite/GPS transmitters in 2012, 2013 and 2014 in Moreton Bay Queensland at the high latitude limit of the species’ winter range in eastern Australia on 30 occasions (one animal was tagged twice). All 22 animals that stayed in the area and had functional transmitters made at least one (and up to 66) return trip(s) to the warmer oceanic waters outside the bay where seagrass is unavailable. Individual dugongs went in and out of the bay in synchrony with the tides and typically spent about 6 hours in the oceanic water. There was a diel pattern in the movements: 85% of outgoing trips occurred between midnight and noon. There were significant individual differences, but the likelihood of a dugong leaving the bay was independent of body length or sex. In Quarter 2 (April – June), the odds of a dugong making a trip increased by about 40% for each 1°C increase in the temperature difference between the bay and the warmer adjacent oceanic waters. In Quarter 3, the odds of making a trip were lower when the outside –inside bay temperature differences were small or negative but increased by a factor of up to 2.12 for each 1°C difference in outside – inside temperatures. In Quarter 4, the odds of making a trip were higher when it was cooler outside the bay and decreased by a factor of nearly 0.5 for each 1°C difference in outside – inside bay temperatures. The activity spaces of the dugongs generally declined as winter progressed suggesting a change in the cost-effectiveness of moving outside the bay. Our analysis suggests that dugongs can thermoregulate their core temperature through the behaviour of moving to water having more favourable temperature.

Keywords: acoustic, behavioral thermoregulation, dugongs, movements, satellite, telemetry, quick fix GPS

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9 Biomimetic Building Envelopes to Reduce Energy Consumption in Hot and Dry Climates

Authors: Aswitha Bachala

Abstract:

Energy shortage became a worldwide major problem since the 1970s, due to high energy consumption. Buildings are the primary energy users which consume 40% of global energy consumption, in which, 40%-50% of building’s energy usage is consumed due to its envelope. In hot and dry climates, 40% of energy is consumed only for cooling purpose, which implies major portion of energy savings can be worked through the envelopes. Biomimicry can be one solution for extracting efficient thermoregulation strategies found in nature. This paper aims to identify different biomimetic building envelopes which shall offer a higher potential to reduce energy consumption in hot and dry climates. It focuses on investigating the scope for reducing energy consumption through biomimetic approach in terms of envelopes. An in-depth research on different biomimetic building envelopes will be presented and analyzed in terms of heat absorption, in addition to, the impact it had on reducing the buildings energy consumption. This helps to understand feasible biomimetic building envelopes to mitigate heat absorption in hot and dry climates.

Keywords: biomimicry, building envelopes, energy consumption, hot and dry climate

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8 A Review on Application of Phase Change Materials in Textiles Finishing

Authors: Mazyar Ahrari, Ramin Khajavi, Mehdi Kamali Dolatabadi, Tayebeh Toliyat, Abosaeed Rashidi

Abstract:

Fabric as the first and most common layer that is in permanent contact with human skin is a very good interface to provide coverage, as well as heat and cold insulation. Phase change materials (PCMs) are organic and inorganic compounds which have the capability of absorbing and releasing noticeable amounts of latent heat during phase transitions between solid and liquid phases at a low temperature range. PCMs come across phase changes (liquid-solid and solid-liquid transitions) during absorbing and releasing thermal heat; so, in order to use them for a long time, they should have been encapsulated in polymeric shells, so-called microcapsules. Microencapsulation and nanoencapsulation methods have been developed in order to reduce the reactivity of a PCM with outside environment, promoting the ease of handling, decreasing the diffusion and evaporation rates. Methods of incorporation of PCMs in textiles such as electrospinning and determining thermal properties had been summarized. Paraffin waxes catch a lot of attention due to their high thermal storage density, repeatability of phase change, thermal stability, small volume change during phase transition, chemical stability, non-toxicity, non-flammability, non-corrosive and low cost and they seem to play a key role in confronting with climate change and global warming. In this article, we aimed to review the researches concentrating on the characteristics of PCMs and new materials and methods of microencapsulation.

Keywords: thermoregulation, microencapsulation, phase change materials, thermal energy storage, nanoencapsulation

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7 A Plant-Insect Association for Enhancing Survival of an Ecosystem Engineer Termite Species in a Semi-Arid Savanna

Authors: G. Nampa, M. Ndlovu

Abstract:

Mutualistic relationships amongst organisms drive diversity in terrestrial ecosystems. Yet, few mutual associations have been documented in the semi-arid savannas of Africa. The levels and benefits of association between Carissa bispinosa, a medium-sized evergreen thorny shrub, and Trinervitermes trinervoides, an ecosystem engineer termite species, were studied at a semi-arid savanna setting in Nylsvley nature reserve, South Africa. It was hypothesized that there would be a close plant-insect association since termite mounds provide nutrients for plant growth and, in return, the thorny shrubs protect mounds from predation and also provide a temperature buffer. Comparative plant and mounds measurements were taken from associated and isolated occurrences seasonally. Soil particle size, macro- and micronutrients were also evaluated from mounds and the adjacent topsoil matrix General Additive Mixed Models were used to assess internal mound temperatures in relation to prevailing ambient and plant shade temperatures. Findings revealed that plants growing on mounds were significantly taller with a wider canopy and remained greener in the dry season with more fruits. On the other hand, termite mounds under plants were less prone to be damaged by aardvarks and pangolins and had a significantly wider diameter than exposed mounds. All soil macronutrients except for calcium and phosphorous were enriched in mounds relative to the matrix. Only Manganese was enriched in mounds while the other micronutrients (Cu, Fe, Zn and B) were not. Termite mounds under plants maintained a better constant and higher mean internal temperature during winter compared to exposed mounds. To our best knowledge, the study has revealed a previously undocumented survival mechanism that termites use to escape extreme temperatures and predation in semi-arid savannas.

Keywords: mound, mutualism, soil nutrients, termites, thermoregulation

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6 Multi-Stage Optimization of Local Environmental Quality by Comprehensive Computer Simulated Person as Sensor for Air Conditioning Control

Authors: Sung-Jun Yoo, Kazuhide Ito

Abstract:

In this study, a comprehensive computer simulated person (CSP) that integrates computational human model (virtual manikin) and respiratory tract model (virtual airway), was applied for estimation of indoor environmental quality. Moreover, an inclusive prediction method was established by integrating computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis with advanced CSP which is combined with physiologically-based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model, unsteady thermoregulation model for analysis targeting micro-climate around human body and respiratory area with high accuracy. This comprehensive method can estimate not only the contaminant inhalation but also constant interaction in the contaminant transfer between indoor spaces, i.e., a target area for indoor air quality (IAQ) assessment, and respiratory zone for health risk assessment. This study focused on the usage of the CSP as an air/thermal quality sensor in indoors, which means the application of comprehensive model for assessment of IAQ and thermal environmental quality. Demonstrative analysis was performed in order to examine the applicability of the comprehensive model to the heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) control scheme. CSP was located at the center of the simple model room which has dimension of 3m×3m×3m. Formaldehyde which is generated from floor material was assumed as a target contaminant, and flow field, sensible/latent heat and contaminant transfer analysis in indoor space were conducted by using CFD simulation coupled with CSP. In this analysis, thermal comfort was evaluated by thermoregulatory analysis, and respiratory exposure risks represented by adsorption flux/concentration at airway wall surface were estimated by PBPK-CFD hybrid analysis. These Analysis results concerning IAQ and thermal comfort will be fed back to the HVAC control and could be used to find a suitable ventilation rate and energy requirement for air conditioning system.

Keywords: CFD simulation, computer simulated person, HVAC control, indoor environmental quality

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5 A Review of Critical Framework Assessment Matrices for Data Analysis on Overheating in Buildings Impact

Authors: Martin Adlington, Boris Ceranic, Sally Shazhad

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In an effort to reduce carbon emissions, changes in UK regulations, such as Part L Conservation of heat and power, dictates improved thermal insulation and enhanced air tightness. These changes were a direct response to the UK Government being fully committed to achieving its carbon targets under the Climate Change Act 2008. The goal is to reduce emissions by at least 80% by 2050. Factors such as climate change are likely to exacerbate the problem of overheating, as this phenomenon expects to increase the frequency of extreme heat events exemplified by stagnant air masses and successive high minimum overnight temperatures. However, climate change is not the only concern relevant to overheating, as research signifies, location, design, and occupation; construction type and layout can also play a part. Because of this growing problem, research shows the possibility of health effects on occupants of buildings could be an issue. Increases in temperature can perhaps have a direct impact on the human body’s ability to retain thermoregulation and therefore the effects of heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat syncope and even death can be imminent. This review paper presents a comprehensive evaluation of the current literature on the causes and health effects of overheating in buildings and has examined the differing applied assessment approaches used to measure the concept. Firstly, an overview of the topic was presented followed by an examination of overheating research work from the last decade. These papers form the body of the article and are grouped into a framework matrix summarizing the source material identifying the differing methods of analysis of overheating. Cross case evaluation has identified systematic relationships between different variables within the matrix. Key areas focused on include, building types and country, occupants behavior, health effects, simulation tools, computational methods.

Keywords: overheating, climate change, thermal comfort, health

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4 Assessment of Interior Environmental Quality and Airborne Infectious Risk in a Commuter Bus Cabin by Using Computational Fluid Dynamics with Computer Simulated Person

Authors: Yutaro Kyuma, Sung-Jun Yoo, Kazuhide Ito

Abstract:

A commuter bus remains important as a means to network public transportation between railway stations and terminals within cities. In some cases, the boarding time becomes longer, and the boarding rate tends to be higher corresponding to the development of urban cities. The interior environmental quality, e.g. temperature and air quality, in a commuter bus is relatively heterogeneous and complex compared to that of an indoor environment in buildings due to several factors: solar radiative heat – which comes from large-area windows –, inadequate ventilation rate caused by high density of commuters, and metabolic heat generation from travelers themselves. In addition to this, under conditions where many passengers ride in the enclosed space, contact and airborne infectious risk have attracted considerable attention in terms of public health. From this point of view, it is essential to develop the prediction method for assessment of interior environmental quality and infection risk in commuter bus cabins. In this study, we developed a numerical commuter bus model integrated with computer simulated persons to reproduce realistic indoor environment conditions with high occupancy during commuting. Here, computer simulated persons were newly designed considering different types of geometries, e.g., standing position, seating position, and individual differences. Here we conducted coupled computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis with radiative heat transfer analysis under steady state condition. Distributions of heterogeneous air flow patterns, temperature, and moisture surrounding the human body under some different ventilation system were analyzed by using CFD technique, and skin surface temperature distributions were analyzed using thermoregulation model that integrated into computer simulated person. Through these analyses, we discussed the interior environmental quality in specific commuter bus cabins. Further, inhaled air quality of each passenger was also analyzed. This study may have possibility to design the ventilation system in bus for improving thermal comfort of occupants.

Keywords: computational fluid dynamics, CFD, computer simulated person, CSP, contaminant, indoor environment, public health, ventilation

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3 Thermoregulatory Responses of Holstein Cows Exposed to Intense Heat Stress

Authors: Rodrigo De A. Ferrazza, Henry D. M. Garcia, Viviana H. V. Aristizabal, Camilla De S. Nogueira, Cecilia J. Verissimo, Jose Roberto Sartori, Roberto Sartori, Joao Carlos P. Ferreira

Abstract:

Environmental factors adversely influence sustainability in livestock production system. Dairy herds are the most affected by heat stress among livestock industries. This clearly implies in development of new strategies for mitigating heat, which should be based on physiological and metabolic adaptations of the animal. In this study, we incorporated the effect of climate variables and heat exposure time on the thermoregulatory responses in order to clarify the adaptive mechanisms for bovine heat dissipation under intense thermal stress induced experimentally in climate chamber. Non-lactating Holstein cows were contemporaneously and randomly assigned to thermoneutral (TN; n=12) or heat stress (HS; n=12) treatments during 16 days. Vaginal temperature (VT) was measured every 15 min with a microprocessor-controlled data logger (HOBO®, Onset Computer Corporation, Bourne, MA, USA) attached to a modified vaginal controlled internal drug release insert (Sincrogest®, Ourofino, Brazil). Rectal temperature (RT), respiratory rate (RR) and heart rate (HR) were measured twice a day (0700 and 1500h) and dry matter intake (DMI) was estimated daily. The ambient temperature and air relative humidity were 25.9±0.2°C and 73.0±0.8%, respectively for TN, and 36.3± 0.3°C and 60.9±0.9%, respectively for HS. Respiratory rate of HS cows increased immediately after exposure to heat and was higher (76.02±1.70bpm; P<0.001) than TN (39.70±0.71bpm), followed by rising of RT (39.87°C±0.07 for HS versus 38.56±0.03°C for TN; P<0.001) and VT (39.82±0.10°C for HS versus 38.26±0.03°C for TN; P<0.001). A diurnal pattern was detected, with higher (P<0.01) afternoon temperatures than morning and this effect was aggravated for HS cows. There was decrease (P<0.05) of HR for HS cows (62.13±0.99bpm) compared to TN (66.23±0.79bpm), but the magnitude of the differences was not the same over time. From the third day, there was a decrease of DMI for HS in attempt to maintain homeothermy, while TN cows increased DMI (8.27kg±0.33kg d-1 for HS versus 14.03±0.29kg d-1 for TN; P<0.001). By regression analysis, RT and RR better reflected the response of cows to changes in the Temperature Humidity Index and the effect of climate variables from the previous day to influence the physiological parameters and DMI was more important than the current day, with ambient temperature the most important factor. Comparison between acute (0 to 3 days) and chronic (13 to 16 days) exposure to heat stress showed decreasing of the slope of the regression equations for RR and DMI, suggesting an adaptive adjustment, however with no change for RT. In conclusion, intense heat stress exerted strong influence on the thermoregulatory mechanisms, but the acclimation process was only partial.

Keywords: acclimation, bovine, climate chamber, hyperthermia, thermoregulation

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2 Skin-to-Skin Contact Simulation: Improving Health Outcomes for Medically Fragile Newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Authors: Gabriella Zarlenga, Martha L. Hall

Abstract:

Introduction: Premature infants are at risk for neurodevelopmental deficits and hospital readmissions, which can increase the financial burden on the health care system and families. Kangaroo care (skin-to-skin contact) is a practice that can improve preterm infant health outcomes. Preterm infants can acquire adequate body temperature, heartbeat, and breathing regulation through lying directly on the mother’s abdomen and in between her breasts. Due to some infant’s condition, kangaroo care is not a feasible intervention. The purpose of this proof-of-concept research project is to create a device which simulates skin-to-skin contact for pre-term infants not eligible for kangaroo care, with the aim of promoting baby’s health outcomes, reducing the incidence of serious neonatal and early childhood illnesses, and/or improving cognitive, social and emotional aspects of development. Methods: The study design is a proof-of-concept based on a three-phase approach; (1) observational study and data analysis of the standard of care for 2 groups of pre-term infants, (2) design and concept development of a novel device for pre-term infants not currently eligible for standard kangaroo care, and (3) prototyping, laboratory testing, and evaluation of the novel device in comparison to current assessment parameters of kangaroo care. A single center study will be conducted in an area hospital offering Level III neonatal intensive care. Eligible participants include newborns born premature (28-30 weeks of age) admitted to the NICU. The study design includes 2 groups: a control group receiving standard kangaroo care and an experimental group not eligible for kangaroo care. Based on behavioral analysis of observational video data collected in the NICU, the device will be created to simulate mother’s body using electrical components in a thermoplastic polymer housing covered in silicone. It will be designed with a microprocessor that controls simulated respiration, heartbeat, and body temperature of the 'simulated caregiver' by using a pneumatic lung, vibration sensors (heartbeat), pressure sensors (weight/position), and resistive film to measure temperature. A slight contour of the simulator surface may be integrated to help position the infant correctly. Control and monitoring of the skin-to-skin contact simulator would be performed locally by an integrated touchscreen. The unit would have built-in Wi-Fi connectivity as well as an optional Bluetooth connection in which the respiration and heart rate could be synced with a parent or caregiver. A camera would be integrated, allowing a video stream of the infant in the simulator to be streamed to a monitoring location. Findings: Expected outcomes are stabilization of respiratory and cardiac rates, thermoregulation of those infants not eligible for skin to skin contact with their mothers, and real time mother Bluetooth to the device to mimic the experience in the womb. Results of this study will benefit clinical practice by creating a new standard of care for premature neonates in the NICU that are deprived of skin to skin contact due to various health restrictions.

Keywords: kangaroo care, wearable technology, pre-term infants, medical design

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1 Tool for Maxillary Sinus Quantification in Computed Tomography Exams

Authors: Guilherme Giacomini, Ana Luiza Menegatti Pavan, Allan Felipe Fattori Alves, Marcela de Oliveira, Fernando Antonio Bacchim Neto, José Ricardo de Arruda Miranda, Seizo Yamashita, Diana Rodrigues de Pina

Abstract:

The maxillary sinus (MS), part of the paranasal sinus complex, is one of the most enigmatic structures in modern humans. The literature has suggested that MSs function as olfaction accessories, to heat or humidify inspired air, for thermoregulation, to impart resonance to the voice and others. Thus, the real function of the MS is still uncertain. Furthermore, the MS anatomy is complex and varies from person to person. Many diseases may affect the development process of sinuses. The incidence of rhinosinusitis and other pathoses in the MS is comparatively high, so, volume analysis has clinical value. Providing volume values for MS could be helpful in evaluating the presence of any abnormality and could be used for treatment planning and evaluation of the outcome. The computed tomography (CT) has allowed a more exact assessment of this structure, which enables a quantitative analysis. However, this is not always possible in the clinical routine, and if possible, it involves much effort and/or time. Therefore, it is necessary to have a convenient, robust, and practical tool correlated with the MS volume, allowing clinical applicability. Nowadays, the available methods for MS segmentation are manual or semi-automatic. Additionally, manual methods present inter and intraindividual variability. Thus, the aim of this study was to develop an automatic tool to quantity the MS volume in CT scans of paranasal sinuses. This study was developed with ethical approval from the authors’ institutions and national review panels. The research involved 30 retrospective exams of University Hospital, Botucatu Medical School, São Paulo State University, Brazil. The tool for automatic MS quantification, developed in Matlab®, uses a hybrid method, combining different image processing techniques. For MS detection, the algorithm uses a Support Vector Machine (SVM), by features such as pixel value, spatial distribution, shape and others. The detected pixels are used as seed point for a region growing (RG) segmentation. Then, morphological operators are applied to reduce false-positive pixels, improving the segmentation accuracy. These steps are applied in all slices of CT exam, obtaining the MS volume. To evaluate the accuracy of the developed tool, the automatic method was compared with manual segmentation realized by an experienced radiologist. For comparison, we used Bland-Altman statistics, linear regression, and Jaccard similarity coefficient. From the statistical analyses for the comparison between both methods, the linear regression showed a strong association and low dispersion between variables. The Bland–Altman analyses showed no significant differences between the analyzed methods. The Jaccard similarity coefficient was > 0.90 in all exams. In conclusion, the developed tool to quantify MS volume proved to be robust, fast, and efficient, when compared with manual segmentation. Furthermore, it avoids the intra and inter-observer variations caused by manual and semi-automatic methods. As future work, the tool will be applied in clinical practice. Thus, it may be useful in the diagnosis and treatment determination of MS diseases. Providing volume values for MS could be helpful in evaluating the presence of any abnormality and could be used for treatment planning and evaluation of the outcome. The computed tomography (CT) has allowed a more exact assessment of this structure which enables a quantitative analysis. However, this is not always possible in the clinical routine, and if possible, it involves much effort and/or time. Therefore, it is necessary to have a convenient, robust and practical tool correlated with the MS volume, allowing clinical applicability. Nowadays, the available methods for MS segmentation are manual or semi-automatic. Additionally, manual methods present inter and intraindividual variability. Thus, the aim of this study was to develop an automatic tool to quantity the MS volume in CT scans of paranasal sinuses. This study was developed with ethical approval from the authors’ institutions and national review panels. The research involved 30 retrospective exams of University Hospital, Botucatu Medical School, São Paulo State University, Brazil. The tool for automatic MS quantification, developed in Matlab®, uses a hybrid method, combining different image processing techniques. For MS detection, the algorithm uses a Support Vector Machine (SVM), by features such as pixel value, spatial distribution, shape and others. The detected pixels are used as seed point for a region growing (RG) segmentation. Then, morphological operators are applied to reduce false-positive pixels, improving the segmentation accuracy. These steps are applied in all slices of CT exam, obtaining the MS volume. To evaluate the accuracy of the developed tool, the automatic method was compared with manual segmentation realized by an experienced radiologist. For comparison, we used Bland-Altman statistics, linear regression and Jaccard similarity coefficient. From the statistical analyses for the comparison between both methods, the linear regression showed a strong association and low dispersion between variables. The Bland–Altman analyses showed no significant differences between the analyzed methods. The Jaccard similarity coefficient was > 0.90 in all exams. In conclusion, the developed tool to automatically quantify MS volume proved to be robust, fast and efficient, when compared with manual segmentation. Furthermore, it avoids the intra and inter-observer variations caused by manual and semi-automatic methods. As future work, the tool will be applied in clinical practice. Thus, it may be useful in the diagnosis and treatment determination of MS diseases.

Keywords: maxillary sinus, support vector machine, region growing, volume quantification

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