De oorthermometer: geen goede vervanger van de rectale thermometer

M. van Berkel, M.C. Jooren, A. Timmermans en E.A. van der Velde

The ear thermometer: not a good replacement of the rectal thermometer

To compare the measurements of body temperature with the tympanic infrared thermometer and the digital rectal thermometer.


Prospective, comparative.


Beatrix Hospital, Gorinchem, the Netherlands.

Patients and method.

A total of 2057 almost simultaneous measurements of rectal and tympanic temperature were performed in 164 patients in 9 different wards.


The mean difference between the two methods was 0.45°C with a standard deviation of 0.57°C. The tympanic temperature was lower than the rectal temperature. The differences ranged from -1.5 to 3.6°C. The correlation coefficient was 0.69. If a rectal temperature > 37.8°C was applied as the criterion of fever, the diagnosis was not made in 175/291 measuring moments (60) with the tympanic thermometer. If a tympanic temperature > 37.8°C was applied as the criterion of fever, the rectal thermometer failed to show fever in 16/132 measuring moments (12).


The low sensitivity of the tympanic measurement to establish fever renders the tympanic infrared thermometer unsuitable for use as a fever thermometer.