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J Post Anesth Nurs. 1991 Dec;6(6):420-5.

Axillary, tympanic, and esophageal temperature measurement: descriptive comparisons in postanesthesia patients.


Body temperature in postanesthesia patients is considered to be an important vital sign; yet, measurement sites may vary from oral to axillary and rectal to tympanic membrane. The reviewed literature indicated that axillary and rectal temperatures are measures of shell temperature and esophageal and tympanic temperatures are measures of core temperature. This study compared temperatures measured with axillary mercury-in-glass and electronic thermometers with those measured by tympanic and esophageal thermometers in 96 postanesthesia patients. Analysis of the data using paired t test indicated there was no significant difference between the esophageal and tympanic temperatures; however, significant differences were found between mercury and electronic axillary temperatures. Analysis of variance indicated no significant difference between the axillary temperatures as measured by mercury and electronic methods in the arm extended on an arm board during surgery. Further studies are needed using a larger, randomly selected sample to validate this study's findings.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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