Assessing Upper and Lower Extremities Via Tissue Dielectric Constant: Suitability of Single Versus Multiple Measurements Averaged
Harvey N. Mayrovitz, Lymphatic Research and Biology, 2018
Background: Tissue dielectric constant (TDC) measurements as an index of local tissue water are useful in a range of applications most notably to characterize and assess lymphedema. Once a measuring device is applied to skin and a result is obtained in less than 10 seconds, but multiple sites may be required and use of the standard triplicate measurements may be time prohibitive. Thus, this study’s goal was to provide data from which informed judgments could be made as to the impact of making a single measurement to reduce expended clinic time.
Methods and Results: Sixty subjects (30 female) were recruited with an average age (mean–standard deviation) of 30.6–13.4 years. TDC was measured in triplicate bilaterally at forearm, hand palm, lateral calf, medial calf, and foot dorsum. The agreement in absolute TDC values and interside ratios was evaluated for assessments made using only the ﬁrst TDC measurement, the average of duplicates and the standard triplicate. Results showed that differences between single and multiple measurement averages were anatomical site dependent with the smallest coefﬁcient of variation (2.19%) at the forearm and the largest at the lateral calf (4.59%).
Conclusions: Results suggest that when clinical time is of major concern, useful TDC data may be obtained in upper limbs using single TDC measurements per anatomical site whereas lower extremity skin assessments should be done using at least duplicate and preferably triplicate measurements. However, as with all such time reliability considerations, clinical judgment should be exercised and aided by the various ﬁndings of this study.