Infrared Tympanic Thermometry for Neonatal Temperature Assessment
Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing
To investigate the accuracy and precision of infrared tympanic thermometer use with neonates by comparing with axillary and rectal measurements. Design: Descriptive, comparative study.
Newborn nursery of a tertiary‐level perinatal center.
Thirty‐four full‐term newborns.
Infrared thermometers were used to collect tympanic temperatures. An electronic thermometer was used to collect axillary and rectal temperatures.
There was no significant difference between tympanic and axillary temperatures. The range of variation (95% CI) was ± 0.7–.9°C. The mean difference between tympanic and rectal measurements was 0.4°C. The range of variation was ± 0.7–0.75°C. Right ear measurements produced the best approximation of axillary temperature, and protected ear measurements produced the best approximation of rectal temperature. The protected ear was 0.2–0.3°C higher than the exposed ear.
There was more variation between tympanic versus axillary and tympanic versus rectal measurements than between axillary and rectal measurements. Tympanic thermometry may be useful for rapid screening of neonatal temperature, but its usefulness for monitoring unstable neonates remains in question.