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January 15, 1982

An Evaluation of a Plastic Strip Thermometer

JAMA. 1982;247(3):321-325. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03320280041027

The Clinitemp® Fever Detector (a registered trademark of the Clinitemp Co, Indianapolis) is a plastic strip thermometer designed to be placed on the forehead and to detect body temperature by changing color. In a sample of 613 patients, we evaluated the ability of the Clinitemp to detect fevers detected by traditional mercury/glass thermometers. When a Clinitemp reading of 37.8 °C (100 °F) was used to demark fever, the Clinitemp detected 34% of the clinically significant fevers detected by the mercury/glass thermometers. The sensitivity of the Clinitemp rose to.81 when a Clinitemp reading of 37.2 °C (99 °F) was used to demark fever. The accuracy of the Clinitemp was affected by variations in ambient air temperature. A reassessment of previously published evaluations of plastic strip thermometers suggests that our results are consistent with other experimental findings. We conclude that the Clinitemp is unacceptable as a substitute for the mercury/glass thermometer.

(JAMA 1982;247:321-325)