Diagnosis and management of temperature abnormality in ICUs: a EUROBACT investigators' survey
BACKGROUND AND AIMS Temperature measurement is a routine task of patient care, with considerable clinical impact, especially in the ICU. This study was conducted to evaluate the accuracy and variability of the Temporal Artery Thermometer (TAT) in ICU-patients. Therefore, a convenience sample of 57 adult patients, with indwelling pulmonary artery catheters (PAC) in a 40-bed intensive care unit in a university teaching hospital was used. METHODS The study design was a prospective, descriptive comparative analysis. Body temperature was thereby measured simultaneously with the TAT and the Axillary Thermometer (AT), and was compared with the temperature recording of the PAC. The use of vasoactive medication was recorded. RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS Mean temperature of all measurements was: PAC: 37.1 degrees C (SD: 0.87), TAT 37.0 degrees C (SD: 0.68) and axillary thermometer: 36.6 degrees C (SD: 0.94). The measurements of the TAT and the PAC were not significantly different (man differnce: 0.14 degrees C; SD: 0.51; p = 0.33); whereas the measurements of the PAC and the AT differed significantly (mean difference: 0.46 degerees C; SD: 0.39; p < 0.001). Mean diference in PAC versus TAT analyses, between patients with vasopressor therapy (0.12 degrees C; SD: 0.55), and without vasopressor therapy (0.19 degrees C; SD: 0.48) was not statistically significant (p = 0.47). CONCLUSION We can conclude that the temporal scanner has a relatively good reliability with an acceptable accuracy and variability in patients with normothermia. The results are comparable to those of the AT, but they do not seem to be sufficient to prove any substantial benefit compared to rectal, oral or bladder thermometry.