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Comparison of Temporal Artery and Axillary Temperatures in Healthy Newborns

Authors

  • Lisa Haddad,

    Corresponding author
    • Correspondence

      Lisa Haddad, MS, BSN, RN, University of Tennessee Medical Center, 1924 Alcoa Highway, Box 104, Knoxville, Tennessee 37920.

      lhaddad@utmck.edu

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  • Sarah Smith,

  • Kenneth D. Phillips,

  • R. Eric Heidel


  • The authors report no conflict of interest or relevant financial relationships.

ABSTRACT

Objective

To compare temperature readings of temporal artery and axillary thermometers in healthy late preterm and term infants in an effort to standardize practice.

Design

Descriptive comparative.

Setting

Thirty-bed, healthy mother/baby unit in an inner-city Level-1 trauma center, averaging 2,500 births per year.

Participants

Healthy newborns (N = 125) admitted to mother/baby unit after birth, at least 35 weeks gestation, and weighing greater than 1,900 grams.

Methods

Temperatures were taken at regular intervals per unit protocol. At each interval temporal and axillary temperatures were recorded.

Results

Temporal temperatures were significantly higher (M = 36.9°C, SD = .59) than axillary temperatures (M = 36.7°C, SD = .68), t(124) = 6.74, p < .0001. Although statistical significance was shown between the two groups, no meaningful clinical difference was detected.

Conclusion

Our study findings supported a new nursing practice standard for measuring infant temperatures in our mother/baby unit. Using temporal artery thermometers is now our unit's standard of care for healthy newborns.

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