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Int J Clin Monit Comput. 1996 May;13(2):81-4.

Auditory alarms during anesthesia monitoring with an integrated monitoring system.

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Department of Anesthesiology, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210, USA.


Alarms in the operating room remain a major source of annoyance and confusion. A previous study by Kestin et al. utilized a specific combination of distinct, separate monitors in 50 pediatric patients. He reported a mean of 10 alarms per case with a mean frequency of one alarm every 4.5 minutes. The alarms were classified as spurious (75%), change outside the alarm limits (22%), or patient risk (3%). We performed a similar study with 50 adult patients under general anesthesia with default alarm settings on an integrated monitor, (Cardiocap, Datex, Helsinki). In our study, the number of alarms averaged 3 per case with a mean frequency of one every 34 minutes. Spurious alarms (those caused by electrocautery, accidental patient movement, or other non-physiological reasons) represented only 24% of all alarms. Those alarms sounding that were outside the limits occurred at a rate of 53%, and those that were considered patient risks occurred at a rate of 23%. Of the alarms, 67% occurred during the beginning and end of anesthesia. The end-tidal carbon dioxide accounted for 42% of the alarms, mostly during intubation and extubation. Suggestions are made for further improvement in alarm systems.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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