Skip to main content

Free Content Accuracy of perception and touch for detecting fever in adults: a hospital-based study from a rural, tertiary hospital in Central India

Download Article:

You have access to the full text article on a website external to Ingenta Connect.

Please click here to view this article on Wiley Online Library.

You may be required to register and activate access on Wiley Online Library before you can obtain the full text. If you have any queries please visit Wiley Online Library


Summary objectives

To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the patient's perception, and of the touch of patient attendants and a doctor for detecting fever. methods

We enrolled patients older than 13 years who presented with history of fever to the in- and out-patient departments of a rural teaching hospital. The design was a double-blind, cross-sectional analysis of a hospital-based case series, independently comparing reported history of fever and touch of patient attendant and that of doctor against an established reference standard (axillary temperature > 37.5 °C). Diagnostic accuracy was measured by computing sensitivity, specificity, and likelihood ratio values. The agreement between the patient, his attendant and the doctor was assessed by kappa statistic. results

We studied 462 patients of whom 274 (59.3%) were men. A total of 206 patients (44.58%) had fever. The patient's perception of fever (LR+ 1.77; 95% CI 1.52, 2.06), patient attendant's touch (LR+ 2.03; 95% CI 1.74, 2.36) and the doctor's touch (LR+ 3.08; 95% CI 2.51, 3.71) did not accurately distinguish those with and without fever. Doctors (LR− 0.20; 95% CI 0.17, 0.34) and patient attendants (LR− 0.24; 95% CI 0.14, 0.28) were more accurate in ruling out fever. The patient's perception agreed moderately with patient attendant's touch (κ = 0.44; 95% CI 0.36, 0.53), and the doctor's assessment (κ = 0.47; 95% CI 0.39, 0.55). There was moderate agreement between patients' attendants and the study doctor (κ = 0.48; 95% CI 0.40, 0.56). conclusions

Our findings suggest that patients, their attendants or doctors cannot accurately detect the presence of a fever without using a thermometer. Doctors should confirm a history of fever by recording temperature.

Keywords: India; fever measurement; hospital study; perception; touch

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Medicine, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences, Sevagram, India 2: Division of Epidemiology, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2003

Access Key

Free Content
Free content
New Content
New content
Open Access Content
Open access content
Partial Open Access Content
Partial Open access content
Subscribed Content
Subscribed content
Free Trial Content
Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more