Goals of work: Empirical antibiotic therapy usually started in patients who are neutropenic following treatment with cytostatic chemotherapy for a haematological malignancy as soon as fever develops to forestall fulminant sepsis. Hence, accurate and timely detection of fever is crucial to the successful management of infectious complications in these patients. We report an investigation of the feasibility and validity of continuous non-invasive body temperature measurement.
Patients and methods: The feasibility of non-invasive continuous measurement of the skin temperature was investigated using the Propaq(R) device in a cohort of 33 patients receiving an allogeneic HSCT who were all at risk of developing a febrile episode. Non-invasive continuous measurement of the skin temperature (CST) was compared with a standard episodic axillary temperature measurement (EAT) five times daily using a Terumo(R) device. The study period entailed monitoring during the 10 or 12 days that profound neutropenia was expected to be present.
Main results: Measuring the skin temperature continuously and accurately by using the Propaq(R) was feasible. The CST correlated well with the EAT measurements (Pearson r = 0.782). Compared to EAT, the start of empirical therapy could be started 2.5 h earlier when relying on continuous measurements than was possible with EAT.
Conclusion: Continuous skin temperature measurements are feasible and valid compared to the conventional temperature measurement and may improve the management of infections by earlier detection of fever in neutropenic patients.