Auditory alarms during anesthesia monitoring with an integrated monitoring system

Frank E Block, Carl Schaaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-84
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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