Patient monitoring is vital to care in operating rooms, emergency rooms, intensive care units and critical care units. It has proven invaluable for respiratory therapy, recovery rooms, outpatient care, transport, radiology, catheterization laboratories and gastroenterology departments, as well as for ambulatory, home and sleep screening applications. Patient monitoring can reduce the risk of infection and other complications, and it can assist in providing for patient comfort. Moreover, patient monitoring products measure, display and document physiological information obtained at regular intervals over time from sensors attached to the patient or other input devices. The qualifier ďat regular intervals over timeĒ is used to distinguish patient monitoring devices from diagnostic kits and devices, which are typically used once or a few times to diagnose a patientís condition and/or plan a course of therapy. Measured parameters include electrocardiogram (ECG), invasive and noninvasive blood pressure, pulse rate, pulse oximetry, body temperature, respiration rate, end-tidal CO2 and other specialized parameters. Products vary from specialized single-parameter instruments to monitors with the ability to measure multiple parameters and interface with other instruments. Hospital staff need to be aware of the possibilities and amongst themselves discuss the potential benefits of the patient monitoring device market for various sectors of the medical community.
Full 24-hour ECG disclosure requires the storage of vast amounts of high-resolution 12-lead ECG data for each patient. On-screen recall and analysis of the data by the cardiologist allows retrospective diagnosis of potentially life-threatening cardiac arrhythmia. Full disclosure ECG is a new feature for the PC based Workstation, a compact and comprehensive solution for advanced arrhythmia analysis in critical care.
Pulse oximetry, the non-invasive measurement of oxygen saturation of hemoglobin in arterial blood, has been a standard parameter in virtually all monitors for over a decade.
See also section on Handheld Oximeter