PURPOSE: Accurate measurement of body temperature is important for the timely detection of fever or hypothermia in critically ill patients. In this prospective study, we evaluated whether the agreement between temperature measurements obtained with TAT (test method) and bladder catheter-derived temperature measurements (BT; reference method) is sufficient for clinical practice in critically ill patients.
METHODS: Patients acutely admitted to the Intensive Care Unit were included. After BT was recorded TAT measurements were performed by two independent researchers (TAT1; TAT2). The agreement between TAT and BT was assessed using Bland-Altman plots. Clinical acceptable limits of agreement (LOA) were defined a priori (<0.5°C). Subgroup analysis was performed in patients receiving norepinephrine.
RESULTS: In total, 90 critically ill patients (64 males; mean age 62 years) were included. The observed mean difference (TAT-BT; ±SD, 95% LOA) between TAT and BT was 0.12°C (-1.08°C to +1.32°C) for TAT1 and 0.14°C (-1.05°C to +1.33°C) for TAT2. 36% (TAT1) and 42% (TAT2) of all paired measurements failed to meet the acceptable LOA of 0.5°C. Subgroup analysis showed that when patients were receiving intravenous norepinephrine, the measurements of the test method deviated more from the reference method (p = NS).
CONCLUSION: The TAT is not sufficient for clinical practice in critically ill adults.