Esophageal temperature probe

Case contributed by Amanda Er
Diagnosis certain


Out of hospital cardiac arrest with current intensive care unit admission after the return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). To check the position of the esophageal temperature probe.

Patient Data

Age: 55 years
Gender: Male

The tip of the endotracheal tube is 5.8 cm from the carina. The nasogastric tube crosses the diaphragm with its tip in the stomach. An esophageal temperature probe is noted in-situ.

There is patchy airspace consolidation in both lungs, more on the left. Findings are suggestive of pulmonary edema. Superimposed infection cannot be excluded. No sizable pleural effusion is seen. No pneumothorax.

The heart size cannot be accurately assessed on the current projection.

Degenerative changes are seen in the imaged spine. A partially-imaged plastic biliary stent is noted in the right hypochondrium.

Annotated image

Annotated images outlining the esophageal temperature probe (in yellow) and nasogastric tube (in red) on a magnified and cropped version of the original frontal chest radiograph.

Case Discussion

This portable radiography case features an esophageal temperature probe, often used to monitor a patient's internal temperature. It may also be used in conjunction with a temperature-regulating equipment to cool patients' body temperatures, sometimes even before the return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC) 1.

The esophageal temperature probe is advanced through the nose into the esophagus, following a similar pathway to the nasogastric tube. Given that the linear radiopaque marker on a temperature probe may be of similar thickness to a nasogastric tube, care has to be taken to ensure the devices are not mistaken for each other.

The temperature probe is considered in-situ when its tip is positioned in the lower third of the esophageal tract 2, or at the mid-level of the heart.

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