Gradual replacement of the mercury thermometers with alternative devices is ongoing around the world in a bid to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. However, to reduce the risks of misdiagnosis, unnecessary treatments, and omission of care in pediatric populations, more evidence on the reliability of alternative thermometers is needed. The aim of this comparative observational study was to detect any differences in temperature measurements between the use of the axillary mercury thermometer and the alternative techniques. Temperature values in degree Celsius (°C) were measured in a group of Albanian children aged up to 14 years using mercury and digital axillary thermometers, as well as forehead and tympanic infrared thermometers. The digital axillary device, compared with the mercury one, showed no clinically significant difference in the mean values (- 0.04 ± 0.29 °C) and the narrowest 95% level of agreement (+ 0.53 °C to - 0.62 °C) in the paired comparisons. For cut-off point of 37.5 °C, the digital axillary thermometer showed the highest levels of sensitivity (72.5%) and specificity (99.1%) in detecting fever. This study indicates that the digital axillary thermometer may be the better option since it adequately balances accuracy, safety, and children's comfort.

Evaluating the interchangeability of infrared and digital devices with the traditional mercury thermometer in hospitalized pediatric patients: an observational study

Dante, Angelo;Caponnetto, Valeria;Petrucci, Cristina;Lancia, Loreto
2021

Abstract

Gradual replacement of the mercury thermometers with alternative devices is ongoing around the world in a bid to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. However, to reduce the risks of misdiagnosis, unnecessary treatments, and omission of care in pediatric populations, more evidence on the reliability of alternative thermometers is needed. The aim of this comparative observational study was to detect any differences in temperature measurements between the use of the axillary mercury thermometer and the alternative techniques. Temperature values in degree Celsius (°C) were measured in a group of Albanian children aged up to 14 years using mercury and digital axillary thermometers, as well as forehead and tympanic infrared thermometers. The digital axillary device, compared with the mercury one, showed no clinically significant difference in the mean values (- 0.04 ± 0.29 °C) and the narrowest 95% level of agreement (+ 0.53 °C to - 0.62 °C) in the paired comparisons. For cut-off point of 37.5 °C, the digital axillary thermometer showed the highest levels of sensitivity (72.5%) and specificity (99.1%) in detecting fever. This study indicates that the digital axillary thermometer may be the better option since it adequately balances accuracy, safety, and children's comfort.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/169691
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