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June 1997

The Pacifier ThermometerComparison of Supralingual With Rectal Temperatures in Infants and Young Children

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