, Volume 446, Issue 2, pp 279-284
Date: 26 Mar 2003

Tympanic temperature reflects intracranial temperature changes in humans

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Abstract

The purpose of the study was to identify extracranial locations in which temperature changes in humans reflect those of intracranial temperature in a reliable and repeatable way. This was achieved by subjecting 14 non-anaesthetized patients after neurosurgery to face fanning while intracranial and extracranial temperatures were continuously measured. In all patients the cranium was closed and the group included both febrile and non-febrile as well as hyperthermic and normothermic patients. The patients' faces were fanned for 20–30 min, with a small fan at an air speed of 3.25 m s−1. This gave intracranial temperature changes measured in the subdural space (T sd) that were highly and significantly correlated (r=0.91, P<0.05, n=14) with changes in tympanic temperatures (T ty). A low, statistically insignificant correlation (r=0.40, P>0.05, n=12) was found between T sd and oesophageal temperatures. In conclusion, intracranial temperature changes, induced by face fanning, were reliably reflected by the changes in T ty.