Patient Monitors

Written by Norene Anderson
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Patient monitors are a lifeline of information for the caregiver in the hospital. The Intensive Care Unit, Coronary Care Unit, and Critical Care Unit have monitors that can record every type of information the body can reveal. Depending on the condition, the patient may be monitored at any given time for several criteria. The upper and lower limits of normal heart activity can be identified, and an alarm can sound when activity crosses the line.

An ECG can be either one or two channels. It shows the electrical activity of the heart with a wave display. It identifies QRS volume and alerts the nursing staff or monitoring technician of any life-threatening abnormalities in rhythm or function. Respiration rhythm can be monitored by a wave display.

Patient Monitors Provide Critical Information

Several types of pressure are monitored. These include arterial blood pressure (ABP), central venous pressure (CVP), intracranial pressure (ICP), pulmonary artery pressure (PAP), right atrial pressure (RAP), left atrial pressure (LAP), arterial pressure, (ART), aortic pressure (Ao), and more. Some patient monitors are viewed at the nurses' station with information transmitted from the patient's room. A telemetry patient can wear a heart monitor and a continual ECG viewing is observed without the need to enter the patient's room.

Advances in technology have had a great impact on the performance and accessibility of patient monitors. Monitors with a network platform can be accessed from any place in the hospital. Portable monitors used for patient transport can hold as much as eight hours of data with the capability to upload the data to the base unit.

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