Danger of using core/peripheral temperature gradient as a guide to therapy in shock

Crit Care Med. 1987 Sep;15(9):850-2. doi: 10.1097/00003246-198709000-00010.


During the treatment of 26 shocked patients, measurements were made of the central blood to peripheral skin temperature gradient. No significant correlation was found between this gradient and cardiac index (CI), or systemic vascular resistance (SVR) or its index (SVRI). There was no significant correlation between the change in gradient and the changes in CI, SVR or SVRI in any single patient. We conclude that it is incorrect to base any judgment of a patient's hemodynamic status on a core/peripheral temperature gradient during shock, and it is irrational to initiate therapy based on this measurement.

MeSH terms

  • Cardiac Output*
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Prognosis
  • Shock / physiopathology*
  • Skin Temperature*
  • Thermodilution
  • Vascular Resistance