Agreement of infrared temporal artery thermometry with other thermometry methods in adults: Systematic review

Panagiotis Kiekkas, Nikolaos Stefanopoulos, Nick Bakalis, Antonios Kefaliakos, Menelaos Karanikolas

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Aims and objectives: To critically review and synthesise the evidence on the agreement of temporal artery thermometry with invasive and noninvasive thermometry methods in hospitalised adults. Background: Noninvasive thermometry methods aim at combining patient comfort and ease of use with satisfactory accuracy of temperature measurements. Infrared temporal artery thermometry is based on the detection of heat radiated from this artery in the forehead and temporal region. Design: Systematic literature review. Methods: A literature search was conducted in Pubmed, CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Web of Science and Embase. Data were extracted from twenty method-comparison studies published between 2002-2015. Methodological quality of selected studies was evaluated. Results: Temperature measurements of temporal artery were compared with pulmonary artery, urinary bladder, oesophageal or nasopharyngeal ones in eight studies for the whole temperature range. Accuracy and precision of temporal artery thermometry exceeded recommended levels of 0·3°C in three and six studies respectively. Likewise, in nine studies that compared temporal artery temperature measurements with oral and ear-based ones, satisfactory agreement and variability was reported in five and none of them respectively. With regard to fever and hypothermia, although specificity of temporal artery thermometers for detecting these disorders was satisfactory, their sensitivity was low. Conclusions: Existing evidence does not support that temporal artery thermometry can replace common invasive and noninvasive thermometry methods in adult patients. Relevance to clinical practice: Health care professionals are recommended to avoid the use of infrared temporal artery temporal artery thermometry in adults, or be cautious about the accuracy and precision of its readings, until improved devices are developed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)894-905
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Clinical Nursing
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Accuracy
  • Adult patients
  • Precision
  • Temperature measurement
  • Temporal artery
  • Thermometry


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