Study Recommends Use of Professional Temporal Thermometer in Adults

WASHINGTON, DC—Using the Exergen professional TAT-5000 temporal thermometer as a noninvasive alternative to measuring temperature orally in adult hematology/oncology patients to detect febrile neutropenia is supported by research conducted at Moffitt Cancer Center, a study presented at the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) 38th Annual Congress outlined.

“Obtaining axillary temperature measurements should be used with caution or discontinued,” noted Mary E. Carroll, RN, MSN, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, who added that “education and competency on the TAT-5000 is required for registered nurses and oncology technicians.”

Noting that mucositis can interfere with accurate readings of body temperature—imperative in caring for immunocompromised patients—using oral thermometers, “there is a need to establish an alternative method of temperature measurement for this patient population to ensure early recognition of sepsis,” noted Carroll.

The study assessed temperature equivalence taken via the temporal artery, axillary, and oral methods in the adult hematology/oncology patient to determine the best alternative to the oral method.

To test temperatures taken with three noninvasive devices, Carroll and colleagues used a repeated measures equivalence design. “O” represented a standard electronic thermometer in oral mode; “A,” a standard electronic thermometer in axillary mode; and “T,” Exergen Temporal Scanner Model #5000. “To control for possible carryover affects, a Latin Squares design was employed with three possible sequences of measurement (OAT, ATO, TOA),” she stated.

A total of 40 sets of temperature measurements were collected on 33 patients according to assigned sequence. The sets were used to calculate a 90% confidence interval (CI) for paired samples, providing a 0.2°F (the acceptance criteria) difference between means.

“Equivalence was demonstrated for temporal artery and oral measurements (90% CI; 0.14° F),” Carroll noted. Equivalence was not demonstrated, however, for the axillary and oral measurements: 90% CI; 0.25°F.

“Nurses play a key role in ensuring patient comfort. The use of a temporal artery thermometer avoids afflicting discomfort that accompanies use of the oral probe for patients with mucositis,” the authors concluded.
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