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Comparison of estimated core body temperature measured with the BioHarness and rectal temperature under several heat stress conditions.

Seo Y; DiLeo T; Powell JB; Kim J-H-; Roberge RJ; Coca A
J Occup Environ Hyg 2016 Aug; 13(8):612-620
Purpose: Monitoring and measuring core body temperature is important to prevent or minimize physiological strain and cognitive dysfunction for workers such as first responders (e.g., firefighters) and military personnel. The purpose of this study is to compare estimated core body temperature (Tco-est), determined by heart rate (HR) data from a wearable chest strap physiology monitor, to standard rectal thermometry (Tre) under different conditions. Methods: Tco-est and Tre measurements were obtained in thermoneutral and heat stress conditions (high temperature and relative humidity) during four different experiments including treadmill exercise, cycling exercise, passive heat stress, and treadmill exercise while wearing personal protective equipment (PPE). Results: Overall, the mean Tco-est did not differ significantly from Tre across the four conditions. During exercise at low-moderate work rates under heat stress conditions, Tco-est was consistently higher than Tre at all-time points. Tco-est underestimated temperature compared to Tre at rest in heat stress conditions and at a low work rate under heat stress while wearing PPE. The mean differences between the two measurements ranged from -0.1+/-0.4 to 0.3+/-0.4 degrees C and Tco-est correlated well with HR (r = 0.795 - 0.849) and mean body temperature (r = 0.637 - 0.861). Conclusion: These results indicate that, the comparison of Tco-est to Tre may result in over- or under-estimation which could possibly lead to heat-related illness during monitoring in certain conditions. Modifications to the current algorithm should be considered to address such issues.
Body temperature; Physiological function; Physiological stress; Physiological effects; Physiology; Physical stress; Physical reactions; Mental stress; Mental processes; Emergency responders; Fire fighters; Military personnel; Heart rate; Monitoring systems; Monitors; Personal protective equipment; Heat; Heat exposure; Exposure levels; Risk factors; Author Keywords: heat stress; exercise; rectal temperature; estimated core body temperature
Aitor Coca, PhD, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, 626 Cochrans Mill Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
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Journal Article
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NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Public Safety
Source Name
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division