Monitoring skin temperature at the wrist in hospitalised patients may assist in the detection of infection
AuthorHolt, SG; Yo, JH; Karschimkus, C; Volpato, F; Christov, S; Smith, ER; Hewitson, TD; Worth, LJ; Champion De Crespigny, P
Source TitleInternal Medicine Journal
University of Melbourne Author/sHewitson, Timothy; Holt, Stephen; Worth, Leon; Smith, Edward; Champion Decrespigny, Paul
AffiliationMedicine and Radiology
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsHolt, S. G., Yo, J. H., Karschimkus, C., Volpato, F., Christov, S., Smith, E. R., Hewitson, T. D., Worth, L. J. & Champion De Crespigny, P. (2020). Monitoring skin temperature at the wrist in hospitalised patients may assist in the detection of infection. INTERNAL MEDICINE JOURNAL, 50 (6), pp.685-690. https://doi.org/10.1111/imj.14748.
Access StatusOpen Access
BACKGROUND: Measuring temperature has always been a key observation in the diagnosis of infection. No studies have examined the usefulness of measuring temperature at the wrist to detect infection. AIM: We sought to determine whether a watch measuring wrist temperature could accurately identify patients who are infected. METHODS: Prospective cross-sectional pilot study of temperature monitoring in an unselected patients in a tertiary referral adult nephrology unit. RESULTS: One hundred and four data recording sessions revealed 88 useful data sets, with recording failures in the others. Patients were retrospectively classified as having no infection (Group A, n = 60), clinically diagnosed infection with less than 24 h of treatment with antibiotics (Group B, n = 5), and clinically diagnosed infection with greater than 24 h on antibiotics (Group C, n = 23). There was a significantly higher average maximum temperature in Group B (mean (SEM)) 38°C (0.6) compared with Groups A (36.1°C (0.1)) and C (36.3°C (0.3)). Based on receiver operating characteristics (ROC) a cut-off temperature of ≥37.5°C gave sensitivity 80% and specificity 98%. Mean electrodermal activity was significantly higher in Groups B and C. CONCLUSIONS: ROC of peripheral skin temperature measurements suggest that such a device may identify many patients requiring treatment for infection. This proof of principle study showed value in using a wearable device in the detection of infection and its potential as an early warning or monitoring device.
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