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J Emerg Nurs. 2010 Mar;36(2):101-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jen.2009.07.017. Epub 2009 Sep 3.

Accuracy of non-contact infrared thermometry versus rectal thermometry in young children evaluated in the emergency department for fever.

Author information

1
Children's Emergency Services, and Level E Nurse, Department of Emergency Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. monnnmn@umich.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We evaluated the accuracy of a non-contact infrared thermometer compared with a rectal thermometer.

METHODS:

Two hundred patients, ages 1 month to 4 years, were included in the study. Each child underwent contemporaneous standard rectal thermometry and mid forehead non-contact infrared thermometry. Clinical features, including chief complaint, recently administered antipyretic agents, and ambient temperature at the time of measurement, were included.

ANALYSIS:

Linear models were used to compare agreement between the 2 techniques, as well as to determine bias of infrared thermometry at different rectal temperatures. Multivariate linear models were used to evaluate the impact of clinical variables and ambient temperature.

RESULTS:

A linear relationship between rectal and infrared temperature measurements was observed; however, the coefficient of determination (r(2)) value between was only 0.48 (P < 0.01). Infrared thermometry tended to overestimate the temperature of afebrile children and underestimate the temperature of febrile patients (P < .01). Ambient temperature and child age did not affect the accuracy of the device.

CONCLUSION:

In this study, non-contact infrared thermometry did not sufficiently agree with rectal thermometer to indicate its routine use.

PMID:
20211398
DOI:
10.1016/j.jen.2009.07.017
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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