Determining cold-stress in full-term newborns through temperature site comparisons

Sch Inq Nurs Pract. Summer 1991;5(2):113-23; discussion 125-6.


A secondary analysis of data from 120 full-term infants was performed to determine whether temperature relationships between sites could be used to identify cold-stress prior to core temperature decrease. Axillary and rectal temperature readings were taken every 30 seconds with standardized mercury-in-glass thermometers, and the highest reading for axillary and rectal temperatures was used in data analysis. Three groups were identified when temperature site readings were compared: infants whose rectal temperature was higher than their axillary (group 1), infants who had equal axillary and rectal temperatures (group 2), and those whose axillary temperature was higher than the rectal reading (group 3). Further findings from data analysis suggested that infants whose rectal temperatures were within normal limits were either in a relatively neutral environmental state (group 1) or were maintaining their core temperatures through brown adipose tissue metabolism (group 3).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Axilla*
  • Body Temperature Regulation*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypothermia / diagnosis*
  • Hypothermia / nursing
  • Hypothermia / physiopathology
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Rectum*
  • Thermography / methods*
  • Thermography / standards