Free-living core body temperature monitoring using a wrist-worn sensor after COVID-19 booster vaccination: a pilot study

Biomed Eng Online. 2023 Mar 13;22(1):25. doi: 10.1186/s12938-023-01081-3.


Core body temperature (CBT) is a key vital sign and fever is an important indicator of disease. In the past decade, there has been growing interest for vital sign monitoring technology that may be embedded in wearable devices, and the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for remote patient monitoring systems. While wrist-worn sensors allow continuous assessment of heart rate and oxygen saturation, reliable measurement of CBT at the wrist remains challenging. In this study, CBT was measured continuously in a free-living setting using a novel technology worn at the wrist and compared to reference core body temperature measurements, i.e., CBT values acquired with an ingestible temperature-sensing pill. Fifty individuals who received the COVID-19 booster vaccination were included. The datasets of 33 individuals were used to develop the CBT prediction algorithm, and the algorithm was then validated on the datasets of 17 participants. Mean observation time was 26.4 h and CBT > 38.0 °C occurred in 66% of the participants. CBT predicted by the wrist-worn sensor showed good correlation to the reference CBT (r = 0.72). Bland-Altman statistics showed an average bias of 0.11 °C of CBT predicted by the wrist-worn device compared to reference CBT, and limits of agreement were - 0.67 to + 0.93 °C, which is comparable to the bias and limits of agreement of commonly used tympanic membrane thermometers. The small size of the components needed for this technology would allow its integration into a variety of wearable monitoring systems assessing other vital signs and at the same time allowing maximal freedom of movement to the user.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; Core body temperature; Fever; Free-living; Remote monitoring; SARS-CoV-2; Telemedicine; Wearable monitoring; Wearable sensor; Wrist-worn sensor.

MeSH terms

  • Body Temperature
  • COVID-19* / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Physiologic
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Pilot Projects
  • Wrist*