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Accuracy and precision of four common peripheral temperature measurement methods in intensive care patients

Authors Asadian S, Khatony A, Moradi GR, Abdi A, Rezaei M

Received 5 April 2016

Accepted for publication 28 June 2016

Published 1 September 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 301—308

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/MDER.S109904

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Simin Asadian,1 Alireza Khatony,1 Gholamreza Moradi,2 Alireza Abdi,1 Mansour Rezaei,3

1Nursing and Midwifery School, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, 2Department of Anesthesiology, 3Biostatistics & Epidemiology Department, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran

Introduction: An accurate determination of body temperature in critically ill patients is a fundamental requirement for initiating the proper process of diagnosis, and also therapeutic actions; therefore, the aim of the study was to assess the accuracy and precision of four noninvasive peripheral methods of temperature measurement compared to the central nasopharyngeal measurement.
Methods: In this observational prospective study, 237 patients were recruited from the intensive care unit of Imam Ali Hospital of Kermanshah. The patients’ body temperatures were measured by four peripheral methods; oral, axillary, tympanic, and forehead along with a standard central nasopharyngeal measurement. After data collection, the results were analyzed by paired t-test, kappa coefficient, receiver operating characteristic curve, and using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences, version 19, software.
Results: There was a significant meaningful correlation between all the peripheral methods when compared with the central measurement (P<0.001). Kappa coefficients showed good agreement between the temperatures of right and left tympanic membranes and the standard central nasopharyngeal measurement (88%). Paired t-test demonstrated an acceptable precision with forehead (P=0.132), left (P=0.18) and right (P=0.318) tympanic membranes, oral (P=1.00), and axillary (P=1.00) methods. Sensitivity and specificity of both the left and right tympanic membranes were more than for other methods.
Conclusion:
The tympanic and forehead methods had the highest and lowest accuracy for measuring body temperature, respectively. It is recommended to use the tympanic method (right and left) for assessing a patient’s body temperature in the intensive care units because of high accuracy and acceptable precision.

Keywords: body temperature, thermometers, intensive care units, sensitivity and specificity, tympanic membrane

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