A Comparison of Infrared Ear Thermometry with Electronic Predictive Thermometry in a Geriatric Setting

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This project had three purposes: to determine the test/retest reliability of three thermometers-an infrared ear thermometer, an oral electronic predictive thermometer, and an oral mercury-in-glass thermometer (MIGT); determine the validity (accuracy) of the first two thermometers using the MIGT as the gold standard; and calculate the thermometers' sensitivity and specificity for detecting fever using 37.5° C on the MIGT as the criterion. The MIGT had the best reliability, followed by the electronic predictive and infrared ear thermometer (for validity, the former was more accurate than the latter). Little difference existed in the latter two thermometers' sensitivity and specificity. However, the confidence intervals were wide, and further studies with larger samples need to be done to elucidate the thermometers' diagnostic properties.

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