Getting to know Temporal Artery Thermometers
Nurse Iya has just arrived home from her 12-hour shift at the hospital. After a relaxing shower and a much deserved dinner, she settles in front of her computer trying to catch up on what’s new in social network. While she was scrolling down her feeds, she encounters a post shared by a peer about temporal artery thermometers. “Huh? What exactly are temporal artery thermometers?” She finds herself intrigued and curious and just couldn’t help but open the link and read more about that type of thermometer.
What is a temporal artery thermometer?
Temporal artery thermometers, which are also known as forehead thermometers are thermometers that utilize an infrared scanner to measure the temperature of the temporal artery in the forehead.
Suleman et al. explain that this device “consists of an infrared scanner that detects the highest temperature on the skin of the forehead and temporal region. From this value, the device estimates Tcore using a proprietary algorithm that incorporates a compensation for ambient temperature (Tst). This system thus differs from conventional skin-temperature measurements (i.e., liquid crystal strips) in searching for the highest forehead temperature and compensating for ambient temperature.”
More accurate than ear thermometers
While ear thermometers are deemed inaccurate by medical professionals due to the inconsistency of the positioning of the probe in the ear canal, thus creating inconsistent readings and frequently missing fevers, the temporal artery thermometer scans the forehead area for the temporal artery and it is almost impossible to miss the artery during a scan.
Another reason is that the person whose temperature is being taken does not like something inserted in their ear, making good positioning even more difficult. On the other hand, the gentle scan across the forehead is comfortable and not offensive.
How it works
Arterial temperature is the same temperature as the blood flowing from the heart. The temporal artery is connected to the heart via the carotid artery, directly leading from the aorta, the main trunk of the arterial system. The temporal artery is located at the front portion of the forehead and is the only artery positioned close enough to the skin surface to provide access needed, and constant perfusion necessary to take an accurate measurement.
Basically, arterial temperature is the best determinate of body temperature.
So when one gently strokes the temporal artery thermometer across the forehead, it crosses over the temporal artery. The sensor in its probe then scans like a video camera, capturing naturally emitted infrared heat from the arterial blood supply at about 1,000 “frames” per second, then locking in the highest temperature it senses.
At the same time, its patented system measures the surrounding area temperature of the site where the temperature is being taken. The patented “arterial heat balance” (AHB) software then creates the two separate readings to perfectly determine and display the body temperature.
Pros and Cons
There are lots of benefits when using this type of thermometer. One, temporal artery thermometers can record a person’s temperature quickly and are easily tolerated.
Temporal artery temperature is also not affected by the things that can cause oral and underarm temperatures to be misleading such as drinking, coughing, breathing and many more.
Another reason to consider using this thermometer is that temporal artery thermometers are appropriate for infants older than age 3 months and for older children. Studies suggest that a temporal artery thermometer also might provide accurate readings for a newborn.
Other research suggests that temporal artery thermometers are the most accurate alternative to rectal digital thermometers for taking a child’s temperature.
However, this type of thermometer may be more expensive when compare to the price of other thermometers.
- Suleman et al., “Insufficiency in a new temporal-artery thermometer for adult and pediatric patients”, Anesthesia and Analgesia 95(1):67-71.