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Prospective comparison of thermometers used in very preterm infants
  1. Emma A Dunne1,2,
  2. Colm Patrick Finbarr O'Donnell1,2,
  3. Lisa K McCarthy1,2
  1. 1 Department of Neonatology, The National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2 School of Medicine, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland
  1. Correspondence to Dr Lisa K McCarthy, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, The National Maternity Hospital, Dublin D02 YH21, Ireland; lisamac79{at}


We measured temperature on admission to the neonatal unit in a cohort of 54 very preterm infants. We measured rectal temperature with a digital thermometer (Microlife MT-1931) as the gold standard (MT-R). We also measured axillary temperature with the MT (MT-A), with the Welch Allyn SureTemp Plus 692 in ‘continuous’ (WAC) mode and in the default ‘predictive’ (WAP) mode. While MT-A and WAC frequently differed from MT-R by ≥0.3°C, they were both reasonably sensitive and specific for hypothermia (MT-R <36.5°C). WAP overestimated MT-R by ≥0.5°C on 37/53 (70%) occasions and had poor sensitivity for hypothermia, identifying only 2 of 29 infants with MT-R <36.5°C as hypothermic.

  • neonatology
  • technology

Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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Data availability statement

Data are available on reasonable request.

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  • Contributors All authors were involved in study conception and design. EAD and LKM completed the data collection.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.