Biomed Eng Lett.  2019 Feb;9(1):3-17. 10.1007/s13534-019-00102-2.

Thermometry and interpretation of body temperature

  • 1Biomedical Information Technology Laboratory, Research Center for Advanced Information Science and Technology, The University of Aizu, Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima, Japan.


This article reviews the historical development and up-to-date state of thermometric technologies for measuring human body temperature (BT) from two aspects: measurement methodology and signifi cance interpretation. Since the fi rst systematic and comprehensive study on BT and its relation to human diseases was conducted by Wunderlich in the late 19th century, BT has served as one of the most fundamental vital signs for clinical diagnosis and daily healthcare. The physiological implication of BT set point and thermoregulatory mechanisms are briefl y outlined. Infl uential determinants of BT measurement are investigated thoroughly. Three types of BT measurement, i.e., core body temperature, surface body temperature and basal body temperature, are categorized according to its measurement position and activity level. With the comparison of temperature measurement in industrial fi elds, specialties in technological and biological aspects in BT measurement are mentioned. Methodologies used in BT measurement are grouped into instrumental methods and mathematical methods. Instrumental methods utilize results of BT measurements directly from temperature-sensitive transducers and electronic instrumentations by the combination of actual and predictive measurement, invasive and noninvasive measurement. Mathematical methods use several numerical models, such as multiple regression model, autoregressive model, thermoregulatory mechanism-based model and the Kalman fi lter-based method to estimate BT indirectly from some relevant vital signs and environmental factors. Thermometry modalities are summarized on the dichotomies into invasive and noninvasive, contact and noncontact, direct and indirect, free and restrained, 1-D and n-D. Comprehensive interpretation of BT has an equal importance as the measurement of BT. Two modes to apply BT are classifi ed into real-time applications and long-term applications. With rapid advancement in IoT infrastructure, big data analytics and AI platforms, prospects for future development in thermometry and interpretation of BT are discussed.


Body temperature; Thermometry; Thermometer; Body temperature measurement; Body temperature interpretation; Body temperature analysis

MeSH Terms

Basal Bodies
Body Temperature*
Delivery of Health Care
Human Body
Vital Signs
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