Assessment of blood distribution in response to post-surgical steal syndrome: A novel technique based on Thermo-Anatomical Segmentation

Zehava Ovadia-Blechman, Oshrit Hoffer, Moshe Halak, Karin Adrai, Yair Zimmer, Daniel Silverberg, Neta Rabin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The distal ischemic steal syndrome (ISS) is a complication following the construction of an arteriovenous (A-V) access for hemodialysis. The ability to non-invasively monitor changes in skin microcirculation improves both the diagnosis and treatment of vascular diseases. In this study, we propose a novel technique for evaluating the palms' blood distribution following arteriovenous access, based on thermal imaging. Furthermore, we utilize the thermal images to identify typical recovery patterns of patients that underwent this surgery and show that thermal images taken post-surgery reflect the patient's follow-up status. Thermal photographs were taken by a portable thermal camera from both hands before and after the A-V access surgery, and one month following the surgery, from ten dialysis patients. A novel term “Thermo-Anatomical Segmentation”, which enables a functional assessment of palm blood distribution was defined. Based on this segmentation it was shown that the greatest change after surgery was in the most distal region, the fingertips (p < 0.05). In addition, the changes in palm blood distribution in both hands were synchronized, which indicates a bilateral effect. An unsupervised machine learning model revealed two variables that determine the recovery pattern following the surgery: the palms' temperature difference pre- and post-surgery and the post-surgery difference between the treated and untreated hand. Our proposed framework provides a new technique for quantitative assessment of the palm's blood distribution. This technique may improve the clinical treatment of patients with vascular disease, particularly the patient-specific follow-up, in clinics as well as in homecare.

Original languageEnglish
Article number110304
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
StatePublished - 15 Apr 2021


  • Blood distributing assessment
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Steal syndrome
  • Thermal image processing


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