International Journal of Biometeorology

, Volume 56, Issue 5, pp 811–821 | Cite as

Reliability of the method of levels for determining cutaneous temperature sensitivity

Original Paper

Abstract

Determination of the thermal thresholds is used clinically for evaluation of peripheral nervous system function. The aim of this study was to evaluate reliability of the method of levels performed with a new, low cost device for determining cutaneous temperature sensitivity. Nineteen male subjects were included in the study. Thermal thresholds were tested on the right side at the volar surface of mid-forearm, lateral surface of mid-upper arm and front area of mid-thigh. Thermal testing was carried out by the method of levels with an initial temperature step of 2°C. Variability of thermal thresholds was expressed by means of the ratio between the second and the first testing, coefficient of variation (CV), coefficient of repeatability (CR), intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), mean difference between sessions (S1-S2diff), standard error of measurement (SEM) and minimally detectable change (MDC). There were no statistically significant changes between sessions for warm or cold thresholds, or between warm and cold thresholds. Within-subject CVs were acceptable. The CR estimates for warm thresholds ranged from 0.74°C to 1.06°C and from 0.67°C to 1.07°C for cold thresholds. The ICC values for intra-rater reliability ranged from 0.41 to 0.72 for warm thresholds and from 0.67 to 0.84 for cold thresholds. S1-S2diff ranged from −0.15°C to 0.07°C for warm thresholds, and from −0.08°C to 0.07°C for cold thresholds. SEM ranged from 0.26°C to 0.38°C for warm thresholds, and from 0.23°C to 0.38°C for cold thresholds. Estimated MDC values were between 0.60°C and 0.88°C for warm thresholds, and 0.53°C and 0.88°C for cold thresholds. The method of levels for determining cutaneous temperature sensitivity has acceptable reliability.

Keywords

Thermotactile quantitative sensory testing Healthy subjects Reliability 

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Copyright information

© ISB 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Health StudiesUniversity of LjubljanaLjubljanaSlovenia
  2. 2.Department of Automation, Biocybernetics and RoboticsJosef Stefan InstituteLjubljanaSlovenia

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