Clinical Education

Temperature Assessment via the Temporal Artery – Validation of a New Method

Arterial Heat Balance Thermometry at an Exposed Skin Site:
Accuracy, Comfort, and Convenience for Patient and Clinician

Marybeth Pompei, Vice President
Chief Clinical Scientist

This educational compendium has been prepared to provide you with immediate information regarding the science and technology behind a new method for noninvasive arterial temperature assessment. We are pleased to introduce this new method for your consideration and provide you with this educational material to help you in your assessment. As it can take several years for peer reviewed studies to be published, we have chosen to present our validation of the method for your immediate consideration, for use with your patients, and so you may provide them with your considered opinion for their own thermometry needs at home. The studies included herein are but a few examples of the comprehensive work conducted in the method over the last two decades by the scientists and clinicians of Exergen Corporation. These sample studies were conducted both by clinicians employed by the manufacturer, and independently by clinicians under the employ of the investigating hospitals. Formal independent studies for peer review publications are currently being conducted in premier university hospitals in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

There has in the past been no method of thermometry that is considered by patients and clinicians to be comfortable, convenient, and accurate. Rectal, oral, axilla, and ear thermometry all have either significant discomfort due to the use of a body cavity, artifactual inaccuracies due to physiological/device phenomena, or both, thus making them less than desirable for the needs of both patient and clinician. The exposed skin eliminates the use of a body cavity, but an accurate method using the skin has heretofore not been demonstrated.

The superficial temporal artery demonstrates the necessary requirements for the skin thermometry method: it is easily accessible, contains no mucous membranes, and notably, it has no or very few arteriovenous anastomoses (AVA).1,2 Lack of AVA's means that perfusion rate is reliable under essentially all conditions, and the blood flow is relatively free of vasomotor control in response to thermomoregulatory stimuli. This property is unique to the temporal artery when considering all accessible cutaneous blood vessels. The high and reliable perfusion allows accurate mathematical computations of the heat lost to the environment due to the cutaneous flow, and thus an accurate calculation of the source arterial temperature at the heart.

As a site for temperature measurement, the temporal artery presents many benefits: it poses no risk of injury for patient or clinician, eliminates any need for disrobing or unbundling, and is suitable for all ages.

Accordingly, Exergen, incorporating a patented and well-proven arterial heat balance method, developed instrumentation for non-invasive arterial temperature assessment on the skin over temporal artery. This report presents a validation of accuracy of the arterial heat balance method and of three new infrared devices, one a professional model for clinical use, one a consumer model for home use, and the other a professional model for use in neonatal intensive care.

Exergen Corporation 1999, 9:26 Rev 5

The above abstract is part of a forty page compendium on Temporal Artery Temperature Assessment

Download the entire compendium PDF version