An evaluation of body temperature measurement

A. H. Ilsley, W. B. Runciman

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The accuracy of routine body temperature measurements, the suitability of various sites for such measurements, and the performance and practicality of various temperature measuring devices were studied. Oral and axillary temperature measurements made by the nursing staff were within 1°C of a reference value (within 0.5°C in 67%). Both sites were suitable for routine ward temperature measurement. Mercury-in-glass thermometers are recommended for routine ward use. Electronic and disposable chemical thermometers cost more but the latter are suitable in uncooperative patients and children. Forehead skin temperature measurements using liquid crystal plastic discs were unreliable. Pulmonary artery and rectal temperature measurements were satisfactory in operating theatre and intensive care unit; however, electronic thermometers should be subjected to routine checks. The bladder temperature measuring device proved unsuitable for clinical use. When oesophagus, nasopharynx and tympanum sites are used careful placement is necessary to minimise trauma and obtain reliable measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalAnaesthesia and Intensive Care
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1983
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine
  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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