Please enter your e-mail and password to log in:

Not registered yet?

Rectal temperature


Measurement of rectal temperature and ambient temperature to estimate the time of death was introduced by Claus Henßge in 1979 (Z Rechtsmed. 1979;83:49-67).


Rectal temperature is measured using a probe, which is introduced 8 cm inside the anal sphincter. It is important not to use a common thermometer intended for measuring a fever, as such thermometers often have a lower measurement range of 35 °C.

Accuracy and use

Rectal temperature is an expression of body core temperature. It's cooling follows Newton's law, but it is influenced by a number of factors.


Corrections have to be made for whether the ambient temperature is above or below 23 °C and how much clothing is covering the body (lower trunk). Furthermore, the correction must take into account whether the body is dry or wet and whether there is movement in the air or flow of water.