Tympanic Infrared Thermometry for Fullterm and Preterm Neonates

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SAGE Publications

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Clinical Pediatrics

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Tympanic infrared thermometry has been proposed as a safe, rapid, cost-effective, and reliable method of temperature taking. 1,2 Testing with adults and children have produced results supporting its use in clinical practice. In previous studies conducted with an adult population, excellent results for accuracy and precision were obtained.3,4 Studies of children have primarily focused on the use of tympanic thermometry for use in pediatric office and emergency room settings.5~6 Kenney et al.1 found tympanic thermometry to differ from rectal temperature by .06°C across all ages and by .02°C for subjects less than two months of age. Mean differences between ears was z0 1 °C. Rhoads and Grandner6 found that while the correlation between infrared tympanic and rectal temperatures in pediatric outpatients were relatively high (r= .77), tympanic temperatures were lower than rectal and oral. Treloar and Mumal reported that tympanic temperature correlated (r = .80) with rectal temperature in children less than three years of age and in children less than two months of age (r = .77). This correlation was higher than the correlation between axillary and rectal temperatures (r = .74) for the under three year group but lower than the axillary-rectal correlation (r = .83) for the under two months of age group. Tympanic thermometry in the neonatal population has not yet been systematically investigated.

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the accuracy and precision of tympanic temperature taking in full-term and preterm neonates.


Clinical Pediatrics, Vol. 30, No. 4 suppl. (April 1, 1991): 42-45. DOI.

Marianne E. Weiss was affiliated with Sharp Memorial Hospital, San Diego, CA at the time of publication.