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June 1997

The Pacifier Thermometer: Comparison of Supralingual With Rectal Temperatures in Infants and Young Children

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Fla.

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151(6):551-554. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1997.02170430017003

Objective:  To determine the correlation between supralingual temperatures obtained with a new electronic pacifier thermometer (Steridyne) and rectal temperatures obtained with a digital electronic thermometer.

Design:  Prospective study.

Setting:  Pediatric emergency department and pediatric inpatient ward of a tertiary university hospital.

Participants:  Convenience sample of 100 patients, aged 7 days to 24 months.

Main Outcome Measures:  A supralingual and rectal temperature were obtained for each patient. For the first 30 patients, the time needed for the pacifier thermometer to signal a final, steady-state reading was recorded.

Results:  The mean±SD difference between rectal temperatures and supralingual temperatures adjusted upward by 0.5°F was −0.01°F±0.42°F (statistically zero) (95% confidence interval, −0.09°F to 0.07°F). The correlation coefficient between supralingual and rectal temperatures was 0.95. Sensitivity and specificity of the pacifier thermometer for detecting fever (temperature ≥100.4°F [≥38.0°C]) was 72.0% and 98.0%, respectively (positive predictive value, 97.3%; negative predictive value, 77.8%). Increasing supralingual temperatures by 0.5°F increased sensitivity to 92.0%, and decreased specificity to 76.0% (positive predictive value, 79.3%; negative predictive value, 90.5%). It took an average time of 3 minutes 23 seconds for the pacifier thermometer to display a steady-state temperature.

Conclusions:  The pacifier thermometer evaluated here was found to be an accurate means of temperature measurement when recorded temperatures were adjusted upward by 0.5°F. The approximate 3 minutes required for a final temperature determination makes the pacifier thermometer most appropriate for use in low-volume ambulatory care settings and in the home. Further investigation of this device is recommended.Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 1997;151:551-554

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