A comparison between conductive and infrared devices for measuring mean skin temperature at rest, during exercise in the heat, and recovery

Bach, Aaron J. E., Stewart, Ian B., Disher, Alice E., & Costello, Joseph T. (2015) A comparison between conductive and infrared devices for measuring mean skin temperature at rest, during exercise in the heat, and recovery. PLoS One, 10(2), e0117907.

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Purpose: Skin temperature assessment has historically been undertaken with conductive devices affixed to the skin. With the development of technology, infrared devices are increasingly utilised in the measurement of skin temperature. Therefore, our purpose was to evaluate the agreement between four skin temperature devices at rest, during exercise in the heat, and recovery.

Methods: Mean skin temperature (T̅sk) was assessed in thirty healthy males during 30 min rest (24.0± 1.2°C, 56 ± 8%), 30 min cycle in the heat (38.0 ± 0.5°C, 41 ± 2%), and 45 min recovery(24.0 ± 1.3°C, 56 ± 9%). T̅sk was assessed at four sites using two conductive devices(thermistors, iButtons) and two infrared devices (infrared thermometer, infrared camera).

Results: Bland–Altman plots demonstrated mean bias ± limits of agreement between the thermistors and iButtons as follows (rest, exercise, recovery): -0.01 ± 0.04, 0.26 ± 0.85, -0.37 ± 0.98°C; thermistors and infrared thermometer: 0.34 ± 0.44, -0.44 ± 1.23, -1.04 ± 1.75°C; thermistors and infrared camera (rest, recovery): 0.83 ± 0.77, 1.88 ± 1.87°C. Pairwise comparisons of T̅sk found significant differences (p < 0.05) between thermistors and both infrared devices during resting conditions, and significant differences between the thermistors and all other devices tested during exercise in the heat and recovery.

Conclusions: These results indicate poor agreement between conductive and infrared devices at rest, during exercise in the heat, and subsequent recovery. Infrared devices may not be suitable for monitoring T̅sk in the presence of, or following, metabolic and environmental induced heat stress.

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ID Code: 81694
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Thermoregulation, Skin temperature, Infrared, Thermal Imaging, Exercise
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0117907
ISSN: 1932-6203
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600) > Exercise Physiology (110602)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Current > Schools > School of Exercise & Nutrition Sciences
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2015 Bach et al.
Copyright Statement: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited
Deposited On: 10 Feb 2015 02:39
Last Modified: 10 Feb 2015 23:31

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