Does the technique employed for skin temperature assessment alter outcomes? A systematic review

Bach, Aaron J.E., Stewart, Ian B., Minett, Geoffrey M., & Costello, Joseph T. (2015) Does the technique employed for skin temperature assessment alter outcomes? A systematic review. Physiological Measurement, 36(9), R27-R51.

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Skin temperature is an important physiological measure that can reflect the presence of illness and injury as well as provide insight into the localised interactions between the body and the environment. The aim of this systematic review was to analyse the agreement between conductive and infrared means of assessing skin temperature which are commonly employed in in clinical, occupational, sports medicine, public health and research settings. Full-text eligibility was determined independently by two reviewers. Studies meeting the following criteria were included in the review: 1) the literature was written in English, 2) participants were human (in vivo), 3) skin surface temperature was assessed at the same site, 4) with at least two commercially available devices employed—one conductive and one infrared—and 5) had skin temperature data reported in the study. A computerised search of four electronic databases, using a combination of 21 keywords, and citation tracking was performed in January 2015. A total of 8,602 were returned. Methodology quality was assessed by 2 authors independently, using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. A total of 16 articles (n = 245) met the inclusion criteria. Devices are classified to be in agreement if they met the clinically meaningful recommendations of mean differences within ±0.5 °C and limits of agreement of ±1.0 °C. Twelve of the included studies found mean differences greater than ±0.5 °C between conductive and infrared devices. In the presence of external stimulus (e.g. exercise and/or heat) five studies foundexacerbated measurement differences between conductive and infrared devices. This is the first review that has attempted to investigate presence of any systemic bias between infrared and conductive measures by collectively evaluating the current evidence base. There was also a consistently high risk of bias across the studies, in terms of sample size, random sequence generation, allocation concealment, blinding and incomplete outcome data. This systematic review questions the suitability of using infrared cameras in stable, resting, laboratory conditions. Furthermore, both infrared cameras and thermometers in the presence of sweat and environmental heat demonstrate poor agreement when compared to conductive devices. These findings have implications for clinical, occupational, public health, sports science and research fields.

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ID Code: 86068
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: body temperature, cryotherapy, hyperthermia, hypothermia, thermography, thermometry, thermoregulation
DOI: 10.1088/0967-3334/36/9/R27
ISSN: 0967-3334
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > HUMAN MOVEMENT AND SPORTS SCIENCE (110600)
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 Institute of Physics Publishing
Deposited On: 29 Jul 2015 23:01
Last Modified: 01 Sep 2015 08:50

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