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Clinical Accuracy of Tympanic Thermometer and Noncontact Infrared Skin Thermometer in Pediatric Practice: An Alternative for Axillary Digital Thermometer

Apa, Hurşit MD*; Gözmen, Salih MD; Bayram, Nuri MD*; Çatkoğlu, Asl BSN*ıı; Devrim, Fatma MD; Karaarslan, Utku MD§; Günay, İlker MD; Ünal, Nurettin MD; Devrim, İlker MD*

Pediatric Emergency Care:
doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3182a2d419
Original Articles
Abstract

Introduction: The aim of this study was to compare the body temperature measurements of infrared tympanic and forehead noncontact thermometers with the axillary digital thermometer.

Methods: Randomly selected 50 pediatric patients who were hospitalized in Dr Behcet Uz Children’s Training and Research Hospital, Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit, between March 2012 and September 2012 were included in the study. Body temperature measurements were performed using an axillary thermometer (Microlife MT 3001), a tympanic thermometer (Microlife Ear Thermometer IR 100), and a noncontact thermometer (ThermoFlash LX-26).

Results: Fifty patients participated in this study. We performed 1639 temperature readings for every method. The average difference between the mean (SD) of both axillary and tympanic temperatures was −0.20°C (0.61°C) (95% confidence interval, −1.41°C to 1.00°C). The average difference between the mean (SD) of both axillary and forehead temperatures was −0.38 (0.55°C) (95% confidence interval, −1.47°C to 0.70°C). The Bland-Altman plot showed that most of the data points were tightly clustered around the zero line of the difference between the 2 temperature readings. With the use of the axillary method as the criterion standard, positive likelihood ratios were 17.9 and 16.5 and negative likelihood ratios were 0.2 and 0.4 for tympanic and forehead measurements, respectively.

Discussion: The results demonstrated that the infrared tympanic thermometer could be a good option in the measurement of fever in the pediatric population. The noncontact infrared thermometer is very useful for the screening of fever in the pediatric population, but it must be used with caution because it has a high value of bias.

Author Information

From the *Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Behçet Uz Children’s Hospital; †Department of Pediatric Hematology, Dokuz Eylül University Hospital; and Departments of ‡Pediatrics and §Pediatric Intensive Care, Behçet Uz Children’s Hospital, İzmir, Turkey.

Disclosure: The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Reprints: Hurşit Apa, MD, Department of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, Behçet Uz Children’s Hospital, İzmir, Turkey 35210(e-mail: Hur.apa@hotmail.com).

© 2013 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.