We have used tympanic thermometers in our peds ED for the past several
years, but the medical staff here has become very frustrated with them as
we've had numerous patients with very spurious readings. I had a baby with
sickle cell (8 mo old) who had a tympanic temp of 37.1 C, we asked for a
rectal temp because he felt hot and his rectal temp was 39 C. We've had
several, several such cases. Our biomed dept has repeatedly calibrated the
tympanic thermometers, etc but to no avail.
Because of our frustration, we're reconsidering our method of taking
temperatures in our pediatric ED. I was wondering what methods were being
used in other pediatric EDs. Do you check tympanics, rectals, etc.? How
old before using an oral temp?
James Graham MD
Associate Medical Director, Peds ED
Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock
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