The Equivalency of Infrared Tympanic Membrane Thermometry with Standard Thermometry in Nursing Home Residents

S. C. Castle, S. D. Toledo, S. L. Daskal, D. C. Norman

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20 Scopus citations


Objective: To compare the equivalence of infrared tympanic membrane (TM) measure of body temperature with standard electronic oral (PO) and rectal (R) measures in a nursing home population. Objective: Randomized repeated‐measurement design. Methods: For the study, 82 randomly selected residents (mean age 79 ± 10 years) of the Nursing Home Care Unit of the VAMC West Los Angeles had PO, R, and TM temperatures measured before arising (6–8 am). An otoscopic exam and the age, sex, presence of neurologic disease, and compliance with thermometry was noted. Also, repeated measures of PO and TM temperatures were performed three times to assess variability. The Pearson's correlation coefficient was determined for PO versus R and for TM versus R temperatures. Stepwise regression analysis was performed with the dependent variable of R temperature and the independent variables of the mean TM temperature, age, sex, presence of neurologic disease, position of the resident, and extent of ear canal occlusion. Results: The correlation of TM versus R (r = .39, P = .004) was better, though not significantly, than of PO versus R (r = .28, P = .04). TM had less variability than PO (pooled standard deviation .38 vs .45° F, respectively) and TM was implemented successfully more often than PO or R (96% vs 81% vs 81%). Conclusion: Therefore, TM was at least equivalent or better than PO measures of temperature in this population. The efficacy of fever detection and the use and durability of long‐term use by nursing staff needs to be studied. J Am Geriatr Soc 1212–1216, 1992 1992 The American Geriatrics Society

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1212-2216
Number of pages1005
JournalJournal of the American Geriatrics Society
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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