Effect of Skin Pigmentation on Near Infrared Spectroscopy


The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of skin pigmentation regarding Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) tissue oxygen saturation values (StO2). The study examined NIRS values in individuals with varying skin pigmentation on the anterior compartment of the lower leg and volar forearm to determine if correlation exists among three NIRS devices, the EQUANOX, Casmed, and INVOS. Skin pigmentation was measured on the anterior lower leg (AL) and volar forearm (VF) of participants using a noninvasive colorimeter that employed reflective spectroscopy to produce a quantitative value for erythema (skin “redness”) and melanin (skin pigment). Muscle oxygenation was measured using three oximetry devices with sensors placed in the same areas. The EQUANOX device showed no significant correlation with skin pigmentation, while the Casmed and INVOS devices showed moderate and significant correlation with skin pigmentation, respectively. Different devices have different abilities to remove confounding variables, such as skin pigmentation and erythema, which may affect clinical decision-making, and affect the use of NIRS technology.

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Couch, L. , Roskosky, M. , Freedman, B. and Shuler, M. (2015) Effect of Skin Pigmentation on Near Infrared Spectroscopy. American Journal of Analytical Chemistry, 6, 911-916. doi: 10.4236/ajac.2015.612086.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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