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Clinical Wire

Study: Temporal Artery, Oral Thermometers Most Accurate

Exergen Corporation, a manufacturer of a line of patented infrared thermometers for professional and consumer use, announced the publication of an independent study comparing the accuracy and precision of all noninvasive temperature measurement methods in a critical care setting.

The study, "Accuracy and Precision of Noninvasive Temperature Measurement in Adult Intensive Care Patients," was published in the September issue of the American Journal of Critical Care. It revealed that temporal artery thermometers and oral thermometers registered temperatures more accurately than other noninvasive methods when compared to core body temperature.

The study took place at the University of Washington Medical Centers in Seattle over a 6-month period. It compared the pulmonary artery temperature of 60 adults (with pulmonary artery catheters in place because of critical need) with temporal artery, oral, ear-based and axillary thermometers.

It was authored by Lari Lawson, MN, RN, Elizabeth J. Bridges, PhD, RN, CCRN, Janie Shively, BSN, RN, Isabelle Ballou, BSN, RN, Ruth Eraker, BSN, RN, Sheryl Greco, MN, RN, CCRN, Janice Shively, BSN, RN and Vanessa Sochulak, BSN, RN, all of the University of Washington Medical Center.

The study aimed to describe the accuracy and precision of four noninvasive methods compared with core body temperature. It was the first study to compare the entire four non-invasive thermometer methods together.

The results of the study showed that temporal artery and oral temperature measurements agreed most closely with the pulmonary artery temperature. Axillary measurements underestimated pulmonary artery temperature.

Ear measurements were least accurate and precise. It was also noted that patient intubation (use of a respirator) affected the accuracy of oral measurements; diaphoresis (perspiration) and airflow across the face were noted as conditions that could affect temporal artery measurement.

However, the study also showed that a combined forehead and behind-the-ear method gave more accurate readings than temporal artery measurements obtained from the forehead alone, and that the combined forehead and behind-the-ear method had the greatest accuracy of all.

The study is the 24th peer-reviewed abstract or full study on temporal artery thermometers since the product was introduced in 2000.

According to the company, Exergen's TemporalScanner is available for consumer or professional use; is the world's first temporal artery thermometer; delivers an accurate temperature comparable to one taken rectally in 2 seconds; and is protected by 11 issued U.S. patents with further U.S. and foreign patents pending.

Exergen Corporation is a manufacturer of an extensive line of patented infrared thermometers, scanners, sensors and controls used in a wide variety of industrial and medical applications for professional and consumer use.

The company was founded in Boston nearly 30 years ago by Harvard research scientist Francesco Pompei, PhD.

For more information, visit  or contact Barbara Moss at 201-843-5600 or

Clinical Wire Archives
  Last Post: February 13, 2013 | View Comments(2)

I used a temporal thermometer on my husbands forehead and it read 99.6 then used oral digital thermometer with reading of 97.6 which is accurate and how do I know if he has fever or not?

Carla StacyFebruary 13, 2013

I was curious due my own comparative temperature readings . . . I regularly need to add 1.5 degrees to be equal with an oral thermometer. This is so with myself and my older daughter.
Is this unusual????

Scott AllnattSeptember 14, 2011
Ithaca, NY


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