Inadvertent perioperative hypothermia (IPH) is an uncomfortable, dangerous and costly but preventable complication of surgery. For perioperative nurses to treat this condition, they must first have an accurate means of detecting it. In making clinical decisions based on patients’ temperature, an important vital sign, nurses must understand how different thermometers work and be competent in their use. It is vital that patients have accurate core body temperature recorded when admitted to the Post Anaesthesia Care Unit (PACU). Infrared tympanic thermometers are a non-invasive tool regularly used by PACU nurses and provide a quick and easily obtained measurement that is a reflection of core body temperature. Despite this, uncertainty remains about the accuracy of tympanic thermometer readings and their ability to accurately estimate core temperature, leading to questions being raised about their acceptability in clinical use. This discussion paper will evaluate the use of tympanic thermometers within the PACU and identify their benefits, limitations and alternatives, as well as the competency requirements of the nurse. Clinical trials give varying results and more research is needed into both the use of tympanic thermometers in the PACU and the competence of the user.
Halford, James and Foran, Paula
"Understanding the use of tympanic thermometry in the Post Anaesthesia Care Unit: A discussion paper,"
Journal of Perioperative Nursing: Vol. 35
, Article 4.
Available at: https://doi.org/10.26550/2209-1092.1198