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Pflugers Arch. 2003 May;446(2):279-84. Epub 2003 Mar 26.

Tympanic temperature reflects intracranial temperature changes in humans.

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  • 1Department of Neurosurgery, Medical University of Bialystok, ul. M. Sklodowskiej Curie 24a, 15-276, Bialystok, Poland.


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).

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