Clinical alarms and alarm fatigue in a University Hospital Emergency Department-A retrospective data analysis

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http://hdl.handle.net/10138/336591

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Jamsa , JO , Uutela , KH , Tapper , AM & Lehtonen , L 2021 , ' Clinical alarms and alarm fatigue in a University Hospital Emergency Department-A retrospective data analysis ' , Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica , vol. 65 , no. 7 , pp. 979-985 . https://doi.org/10.1111/aas.13824

Title: Clinical alarms and alarm fatigue in a University Hospital Emergency Department-A retrospective data analysis
Author: Jamsa, JO; Uutela, KH; Tapper, AM; Lehtonen, L
Other contributor: University of Helsinki, Doctoral Programme in Clinical Research
University of Helsinki, HUS Emergency Medicine and Services
University of Helsinki, HUSLAB






Date: 2021-05
Language: eng
Number of pages: 7
Belongs to series: Acta Anaesthesiologica Scandinavica
ISSN: 0001-5172
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/aas.13824
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/336591
Abstract: Background Alarm fatigue is hypothesized to be caused by vast amount of patient monitor alarms. Objectives were to study the frequency and types of patient monitor alarms, to evaluate alarm fatigue, and to find unit specific alarm threshold values in a university hospital emergency department. Methods We retrospectively gathered alarm data from 9 September to 6 October 2019, in Jorvi Hospital Emergency department, Finland. The department treats surgical, internal and general medicine patients aged 16 and older. The number of patients is on average 4600 to 5000 per month. Eight out of 46 monitors were used for data gathering and the monitored modalities included electrocardiography, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and pulse oximetry. Results Total number of alarms in the study monitors was 28 176. Number of acknowledged alarms (ie acknowledgement indicator pressed in the monitor) was 695 (2.5%). The most common alarm types were: Respiratory rate high, 9077 (32.2%), pulse oximetry low, 4572 (16.2%) and pulse oximetry probe off, 4036 (14.3%). Number of alarms with duration under 10 s was 14 936 (53%). Number of individual alarm sounds was 105 000, 469 per monitor per day. Of respiratory rate high alarms, 2846 (31.4%) had initial value below 30 breaths min(-1). Of pulse oximetry low alarms, 2421 (53.0%) had initial value above 88%. Conclusions Alarm sound load, from individual alarm sounds, was nearly continuous in an emergency department observation room equipped with nine monitors. Intervention by the staff to the alarms was infrequent. More than half of the alarms were momentary.
Subject: alarm fatigue
clinical alarms
emergency medicine
patient safety
EVENTS
3126 Surgery, anesthesiology, intensive care, radiology
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