Are temporal artery temperatures accurate enough to replace rectal temperature measurement in pediatric ED patients?

Marcia Reynolds, Laura Bonham, Margaret Gueck, Katherine Hammond, Jessica Lowery, Cheryll Redel, Christine Rodriguez, Suzanne Smith, Anne Stanton, Stephanie Sukosd, Marla Craft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: This study examined the accuracy of temporal artery and axillary temperatures compared with rectal temperatures in pediatric ED patients younger than 4 years. Methods: A method-comparison study design was used to examine the agreement between a temporal artery or axillary thermometer and a nondisposable, rectal electronic thermometer, which is the clinical reference standard for temperature measurement in children. Temperatures were taken with each device in a convenience sample of stable, pediatric ED patients who were younger than 4 years. Bias and precision were calculated to quantify the differences between the 2 devices, as well as the percentage of temporal artery and axillary temperatures that were >±. 1.0°C and >±1.5°C higher or lower than the rectal temperature. Results: A total of 52 pediatric ED patients were studied over a 10-month period. Bias and precision for the temporal artery and axillary devices were -0.46°C ± 0.50°C and -0.93°C ± 0.49°C, respectively. The percentage of temporal artery and axillary temperatures that were >±. 1.0°C and/or >±. 1.5°C above or below the clinical reference temperature were 15% and 6%, respectively, for the temporal artery thermometer and 39% and 14%, respectively, for the axillary thermometer. Discussion: Bias and precision values for the temporal artery, but not the axillary temperature, were within the acceptable range set by experts to use as a noninvasive substitute for core body temperature measurements. If properly used by ED staff, temporal artery thermometers could be used to obtain temperature in pediatric patients younger than 4 years, thus avoiding physical and psychological discomfort for the child and parent associated with obtaining rectal thermometers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-50
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Emergency Nursing
Volume40
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2014

Keywords

  • Axillary temperature
  • Bias
  • Forehead temperature
  • Medical device
  • Precision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency

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