Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), is a devastating inflammatory disease of infants for which there is no cure and exact causes remain unknown. Diagnoses are limited to radiographic findings and in most institutions Modified Bell’s Criteria is used, neither are capable of reliable early detection. In this thesis, a novel method of abdominal infrared thermal imaging is proposed that allows direct measurements of skin temperature, which are capable of unveiling thermal abnormalities that may indicate intestinal inflammation characteristic of NEC. Abdominal thermal symmetry analysis was
performed, results obtained from the 20 normal and the 9 NEC affected infants were statistically compared. A higher degree of thermal asymmetry was seen with the NEC group in comparison to the Normal group, notably when image enhancement techniques were done. We are hopeful that this new non-contact, non-ionizing method may potentially offer an early diagnostic tool.