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Accuracy of Tympanic Temperature Measurement in Firefighters Completing a Simulated Structural Firefighting Task

Keene, Toby, Brearley, Matthew B., Bowen, Beth and Walker, Anthony (2015). Accuracy of Tympanic Temperature Measurement in Firefighters Completing a Simulated Structural Firefighting Task. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine,30(5):1-5.

Document type: Journal Article
Citation counts: Altmetric Score Altmetric Score is 4
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IRMA ID 84278914xPUB15
Title Accuracy of Tympanic Temperature Measurement in Firefighters Completing a Simulated Structural Firefighting Task
Author Keene, Toby
Brearley, Matthew B.
Bowen, Beth
Walker, Anthony
Journal Name Prehospital and Disaster Medicine
Publication Date 2015
Volume Number 30
Issue Number 5
ISSN 1945-1938   (check CDU catalogue  open catalogue search in new window)
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84948387377
Start Page 1
End Page 5
Total Pages 5
Place of Publication United States
Publisher Cambridge University Press
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract In the course of their duties, firefighters risk heat stroke and other medical conditions due to exertion in high-temperature environments. Infrared tympanic temperature measurement (TTym) is often used by Emergency Medical Services (EMS) to assess the core body temperature of firefighters. The accuracy of TTym in this setting has been called into question.

This study aimed to examine the accuracy of TTym for core body temperature assessment at emergency firefighting events compared with gastrointestinal temperature measurement (TGI) as measured by ingestible thermometers.

Forty-five (42 male, three female) professional urban firefighters from an Australian fire service completed two 20-minute work periods in a 100°C (± 5°C) heat chamber while wearing personal protective clothing (PPC) and breathing apparatus (weighing approximately 22 kg). Measurements were taken immediately before entering, and on exiting, the heat chamber. Tympanic temperature was assessed by an infrared tympanic thermometer and TGI was measured by ingestible sensor and radio receiver.

Complete data were available for 37 participants. Participant temperatures were higher on exiting the heat chamber than at baseline (TTym: 35.9°C (SD=0.7) vs 37.5°C (SD=0.8); TGI: 37.2°C (SD=0.4) vs 38.6°C (SD=0.5)). Tympanic temperature underestimated TGI on average by 1.3°C (SD=0.5) before entering the chamber and by 1.0°C (SD=0.8) following the exercise. Using pooled data, the average underestimation was 1.2°C (SD=0.7).

Tympanic thermometers cause an unreliable measure of core body temperature for firefighters engaged in fire suppression activities. Accurate and practical measures of core body temperature are required urgently.
Keywords body temperature
Emergency Medical Services
firefighters
thermometers
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S1049023X15005038   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
 
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Created: Tue, 26 Jul 2016, 12:37:48 CST