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Anesth Analg. 2018 Sep 18. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000003801. [Epub ahead of print]

Ventilator Alarms in Intensive Care Units: Frequency, Duration, Priority, and Relationship to Ventilator Parameters.

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From the Department of Integrated Healthcare Delivery, Johns Hopkins Health System, Baltimore, Maryland.
Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.


Ventilator alarms have long been presumed to contribute substantially to the overall alarm burden in the intensive care unit. In a prospective observational study, we determined that each ventilator triggered an alarm cascade of up to 8 separate notifications once every 6 minutes. In 1 intensive care unit with different ventilator manufacturers, the distribution of high-priority alarms was manufacturer dependent with 8.6% of alarms from 1 type and 89.8% of alarms from another type of ventilator. Alarm limits were not a function of patient-specific ventilator settings.

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