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J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2012 May-Jun;41(3):383-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1552-6909.2012.01367.x.

Comparison of temporal artery and axillary temperatures in healthy newborns.

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1
Department of Patient Services, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Knoxville, TN 37920, USA. lhaddad@utmck.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare temperature readings of temporal artery and axillary thermometers in healthy late preterm and term infants in an effort to standardize practice.

DESIGN:

Descriptive comparative.

SETTING:

Thirty-bed, healthy mother/baby unit in an inner-city Level-1 trauma center, averaging 2,500 births per year.

PARTICIPANTS:

Healthy newborns (N = 125) admitted to mother/baby unit after birth, at least 35 weeks gestation, and weighing greater than 1,900 grams.

METHODS:

Temperatures were taken at regular intervals per unit protocol. At each interval temporal and axillary temperatures were recorded.

RESULTS:

Temporal temperatures were significantly higher (M = 36.9°C, SD = .59) than axillary temperatures (M = 36.7°C, SD = .68), t(124) = 6.74, p < .0001. Although statistical significance was shown between the two groups, no meaningful clinical difference was detected.

CONCLUSION:

Our study findings supported a new nursing practice standard for measuring infant temperatures in our mother/baby unit. Using temporal artery thermometers is now our unit's standard of care for healthy newborns.

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