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Print version ISSN 1134-928X


VILLANUEVA ALVAREZ, Ester; FERNANDEZ RODRIGUEZ, María; VIANO PEREZ, Elia  and  AMORIN BAYON, María. Reliability in the measurement of body temperature with a tympanic thermometer in geriatric patients. Gerokomos [online]. 2017, vol.28, n.2, pp.68-72.  Epub Nov 09, 2020. ISSN 1134-928X.


The determination of body temperature must be accurate, valid and reliable.


To evaluate the reliability of the body temperature measurement with a tympanic thermometer in hospitalized patients. To analyze the interobserver concordance in the determination of the temperature, in application of the correct technique and in habitual practice. Identify patient variables that could influence the temperature measurement.


Observational study of diagnostic tests in geriatric patients hospitalized for acute pathology. Three consecutive measurements of body temperature (clinical practice conditions vs. ideal conditions with two trained researchers) were performed.


The intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) among investigators for the same ear was 0.97 with a confidence interval (0.95-0.98) for the right ear and (0.96-0.98) the left ear. The ICC between ears for the same investigator, concordance was 0.89 (IC 0.84-0.93) investigator one and 0.92 (IC 0.87-0.94) investigator two. When comparing the plant measurements with the researchers, the concordance was 0.76 (CI 0.64-0.84). There was variation in all KICs by excluding “lateral decubitus over ear rated” with concordance between ears of 0.92 (IC 0.88-0.95) investigator one and 0.95 (IC 0.91-0.96) investigator two; As well as concordance 0.72 (CI 0.56-0.82) between the average of the researchers and the plant measurements.


The tympanic device is reliable and reproducible, especially if the measurement is performed according to a technique based on scientific evidence. There are variables of the patient that are likely to influence the measurement, such as lateral decubitus over the assessed ear, so it is necessary to take into account certain factors and establish criteria in the measurement.

Keywords : tympanic thermometer; measurement; reliability; geriatric patients.

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