Temporal thermometry fails to track body core temperature during heat stress

David A. Low, Albert Vu, Marilee Brown, Scott L. Davis, David M. Keller, Benjamin D. Levine, Craig G. Crandall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of temporal scanning thermometry in monitoring internal temperature increases during passive heating. METHODS: Sixteen subjects (5 males and 11 females) underwent a whole-body passive heat stress (water-perfused suit) to increase internal temperature. Temperatures were obtained with a temporal scanner and with an ingestible-pill telemetry system that tracks intestinal temperature. Temperatures were recorded while subjects were normothermic (34°C water-perfusing suit) and every 10 min during passive heating (48°C water-perfusing suit). RESULTS: Heart rate (ECG), mean skin temperature (weighted six-site average), skin blood flow (laser Doppler flowmetry), and sweat rate (capacitance hygrometry) were all significantly elevated at the end of heating (all P < 0.001). Pre-heat stress temporal-derived temperature was not different from intestinal temperature (36.98 ± 0.09 vs 37.01 ± 0.09°C, respectively, P = 0.76). However, after 30 min of heating (the greatest duration of heating completed by all subjects), temporal-derived temperature decreased to below the pre-heat stress baseline (-0.22 ± 0.11), whereas intestinal temperature increased by 0.39 ± 0.07°C (P < 0.001 between the two methods). After 50 min of heating (N = 11), intestinal-derived internal temperature increased by 0.70 ± 0.09°C, whereas temporal-derived temperature decreased by 0.29 ± 0.10°C (P < 0.001). The group average (± SEM) R and slope between the two methods were 0.29 ± 0.08 and -0.34 ± 0.14, respectively. CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate that temporal scanning does not track internal temperature, as measured via intestinal temperature, during passive heating. Given these findings, it is recommended that this technique not be used to assess temperature in hyperthermic diaphoretic subjects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1029-1035
Number of pages7
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2007


  • Fever
  • Hyperthermia
  • Intestinal temperature
  • Measurement error

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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