Forehead thermometer may not be as accurate for detecting heat in blacks, study finds

Temporary thermometers have grown in popularity during the pandemic, and this isn’t the first time a critical medical tool for assessing Covid-19 patients has been found to malfunction in black patients.

Other studies have found that pulse oximeters (small devices worn on fingers to monitor oxygen levels in the blood) can lead to inaccurate readings among people of color.

“A racial prejudice finding in one category of devices could have been anomalous. It leads to the important question of whether the He, a professor in the Department of Respiratory Medicine, Allergy, Intensive Care and Sleep Medicine at Emory University School of Medicine and lead author of the JAMA study, wrote in an email to CNN:

A new study suggests that “23% of fevers in black patients may go undetected by temporary thermometers,” writes Bhavani.

“If fever is not detected, notification is missed and these notification pathways are missed, which can lead to antibiotic delays and worse outcomes for black patients,” he added. “In outpatient and community settings, missing a fever can delay diagnosis, and this can be especially important during a pandemic surge. This could lead to undetected fevers if we were using temporary thermometers to screen for a significant proportion of blacks.”

Doctors Rely on Accuracy

Researchers from Emory University in Atlanta and the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine in Honolulu Temporary thermometer and oral thermometer Fever was detected among 2,031 black and 2,344 white infected patients. The patient was admitted to his four hospitals in Emory between 2014 and 2021. Investigators did not have a sufficient sample size to assess whether there was imprecision in temporal measurements in Asian and Hispanic patients.

They found that overall temporal temperature readings tended to be lower than oral temperature readings in blacks, but not in whites.

The fever rate detected in black patients was 10.1% by thermometer compared to 13.2% by thermometer. However, among Caucasian patients, the prevalence was 10.8% transient and 10.2% oral.

Researchers found in their study that differences between thermometer readings over time and oral thermometer readings in black patients may lead to fevers that may go undetected more frequently, and subsequently lead to misdiagnosed or untreated illnesses. There is a possibility that

Clinicians “rely on accurate temperature readings. We make so many decisions based on them. Whether to do a procedure or test,” says Dr. Tom Valley. An assistant professor in the Department of Pulmonary and Critical Care at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, he treats patients in the Intensive Care Unit of Medicine. He was not involved in his new research.

Barre said he has studied how pulse oximeters do poorly in measuring oxygen levels in people of color and is not surprised by racial differences in thermometer performance.

“As someone who has been involved in this research and has found something similar in pulse oximetry, another diagnostic tool, unfortunately, it doesn’t surprise me.” No. If you don’t investigate, you can’t identify these problems.If you don’t identify these problems, you can’t fix them.That’s part of the problem.How far is this going? I don’t know how far the racism has gone.”

This device is very important in the fight against Covid.May not work on dark skin
In theory, medical devices that utilize infrared sensing “are likely to exhibit inconsistencies in their performance among people with different skin tones,” said Leo Anthony, clinical research director and principal research scientist. Dr. Seri says Institute for Computational Physiology, Massachusetts Institute of Technologywas not involved in the new study.

This is because the technology in devices such as pulse oximeters and chronological thermometers involves emitting and capturing light to make measurements.

For example, a pulse oximeter sends light from your finger to a sensor and uses that light to detect the color of blood and measure blood oxygen levels. Temporary thermometers use infrared technology to measure the heat energy your body gives off. Pigmentation can affect how light is absorbed and how infrared technology works if the device isn’t calibrated for darker skin tones.

“Skin tones hinder the reflection of light,” said Celi. Also researching pulse oximeter disparities“I think this is just the tip of the iceberg. Over the next year, we will see how there are products being used for care that are not objectively accurate across a range of demographics.” I think there will be a lot of papers to show.”

“A much bigger systemic problem”

These inaccuracies in how the device works in black and brown patients suggest that studies should be more comprehensive and involve people of color in clinical trials to design and evaluate medical devices. This is an example of why it is important.

“But it’s not as simple as it sounds. Historically, getting people of color and underrepresented individuals into clinical trials has been more difficult because of their past abuses.” He said.

But overall, “this really reflects the larger systemic problems we have today in how we design, innovate and develop not just medical devices, but health products such as medicines and interventions.” “We really want to strengthen ourselves in terms of making sure the research we do is more comprehensive to avoid unintended consequences of the technology we develop.” need to do it.”

The new study does not analyze the exact factors behind why racial differences exist in the accuracy of temporary thermometers.

“These thermometers work by measuring radiation emitted by the forehead aorta. Several factors that have not been fully characterized affect their ability to detect and accurately measure that radiation. One such factor could be skin color,” says Dr. Ashraf. His Fawzy, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Medicine who was not involved in the new study, wrote in an email to CNN:

This could suggest that the technology behind the thermometer was not well tested among darker-skinned people. He said he also “has a lot of reliance” on.

“Device users often misplace their thermometers, which can lead to inaccurate readings for black patients,” Fawzy wrote. “This finding is certainly surprising. It is generally well known that temporary thermometers, unlike pulse oximeters, are less accurate and less reliable, but personally I find this inaccuracy I didn’t think it was possible for black patients to be different than white patients.”


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