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Menopause:
doi: 10.1097/GME.0b013e3182947af3
Original Articles

Validation of a sternal skin conductance criterion for measuring hot flashes in breast cancer patients

Savard, Marie-Hélène PhD1,2; Savard, Josée PhD1,2,3; Ivers, Hans PhD1,2

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Abstract

Objective

This study aimed to establish the sternal skin conductance level (SCL) increase that would optimally detect hot flashes among breast cancer patients.

Methods

Fifty-six women who had completed a similar treatment protocol for a first diagnosis of breast cancer within the previous 3 months wore an ambulatory sternal skin conductance device for one home-based daytime recording of hot flashes.

Results

A total of 199 hot flashes were reported by the participants using the event marker. A 2-μS (μmho) SCL increase within a 30-second period, the criterion typically used, had a sensitivity of only 32% and a specificity of 97%. Comparatively, the alternative criterion proposed here, a 1.2-μmho SCL increase, yielded a sensitivity of 61% and a specificity of 90%.

Conclusions

This study provides evidence that a lower SCL criterion should be used to better detect objectively recorded hot flashes among breast cancer patients. Further work is needed to validate the proposed criterion among this population.

© 2013 by The North American Menopause Society

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