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Pediatr Emerg Care. 2013 Feb;29(2):197-9. doi: 10.1097/PEC.0b013e3182809c29.

Galinstan thermometer is more accurate than digital for the measurement of body temperature in children.

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Department of Pediatric Emergency, Institute of Child Health Burlo Garofolo, Trieste, Italy.



The mercury thermometer (MT) was considered the reference standard for the evaluation of body temperature; however, since April 2009, it has no longer been available in Italy.


This study aimed to evaluate the accuracy of digital thermometer (DT) and galinstan thermometer (GT) in comparison with the MT.


We prospectively recruited 284 children (age, 1 month to 17 years; mean, 8.5 years) seen in the emergency department of a tertiary pediatric hospital between November and December 2010. For each patient, body temperature was measured sequentially in the right axilla in a randomized fashion using DT, GT, and MT. Fever was defined as an axillary temperature of 37.5°C or greater. The temperature readings with DT and GT were compared statistically with those of MT (reference standard).


No statistically significant difference in mean temperature was found between MT and GT in pairwise comparison (P = 0.06), whereas significant differences were found between MT and DT (P < 0.001) and between GT and DT (P < 0.001). Sensitivity and specificity of DT were 67.5% and 98.0%, respectively. When considering children with a temperature of 39°C or higher, the false-negative rate was 65.4% with DT and 30.8% with GT.


Although both DT and GT had good specificity and positive predictive value compared with MT, GT had higher sensitivity and a lower rate of false-negative rates. Galinstan thermometer is more accurate in the measurement of body temperature compared with DT or MT.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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