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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


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

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.
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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