Use and Outcomes of Telemetry Monitoring on a Medicine Service

Archives of internal medicine (Impact Factor: 17.33). 08/2012; 172(17):1-2. DOI: 10.1001/archinternmed.2012.3163
Source: PubMed
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  • World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Sessions; 05/2012
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    ABSTRACT: The American Heart Association classifies monitored patients into 3 categories. The aims of this study were to (1) investigate how patients are assigned according to the American Heart Association classification, (2) determine the number and type of arrhythmic events experienced by these patients, and (3) describe subsequent changes in management. A prospective observational study design was used. All patients assigned to telemetry during a 3-month period were consecutively enrolled in our study. Data were collected 24/7. Only arrhythmias that might require a change in management were recorded. Monitor watchers at the central monitoring station completed a standard data sheet assessing 64 variables. These data, as well as medical records, were reviewed by the investigator. Overall, 1,194 patients were included. Eighteen percent of the patients were assigned to American Heart Association class I (monitoring indicated), 71% to class II (monitoring may be of benefit), and 11% to class III (monitoring not indicated). The overall arrhythmia event rate was 33%. Forty-three percent of class I patients, 28% of class II patients, and 47% of class III patients experienced arrhythmia events. Change in management occurred in 25% of class I patients, 14% of class II patients, and 29% of class III patients. Although the number of class III indications should have been reduced, nearly 1/2 of class III patients experienced arrhythmia events and 1/3 of them received management changes. This outcome challenges existing guidelines. In conclusion, most patients in this study were monitored appropriately, according to class I and II indications.
    The American journal of cardiology 07/2013; 112(8). DOI:10.1016/j.amjcard.2013.05.069 · 3.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: General medical-surgical units struggle with how best to use cardiac monitor alarms to alert nursing staff to important abnormal heart rates (HRs) and rhythms while limiting inappropriate and unnecessary alarms that may undermine both patient safety and quality of care. When alarms are more often false than true, the nursing staff's sense of urgency in responding to alarms is diminished. In this syndrome of "clinical alarm fatigue," the simple burden of alarms desensitizes caregivers to alarms. Noise levels associated with frequent alarms may also heighten patient anxiety and disrupt their perception of a healing environment. Alarm fatigue experienced by nurses and patients is a significant problem and innovative solutions are needed. The purpose of this quality improvement study was to determine variables that would safely reduce noncritical telemetry and monitor alarms on a general medical-surgical unit where standard manufacturer defaults contributed to excessive audible alarms. Mining of alarm data and direct observations of staff's response to alarms were used to identify the self-reset warning alarms for bradycardia, tachycardia, and HR limits as the largest contributors of audible alarms. In this quality improvement study, the alarms for bradycardia, tachycardia, and HR limits were changed to "crisis," requiring nursing staff to view and act on the alarm each time it sounded. The limits for HR were HR low 45 bpm and HR high 130 bpm. An overall 89% reduction in total mean weekly audible alarms was achieved on the pilot unit (t = 8.84; P < .0001) without requirement for additional resources or technology. Staff and patient satisfaction also improved. There were no adverse events related to missed cardiac monitoring events, and the incidence of code blues decreased by 50%. Alarms with self-reset capabilities may result in an excess number of audible alarms and clinical alarm fatigue. By eliminating self-resetting alarms, the volume of audible alarms and associated clinical alarm fatigue can be significantly reduced without requiring additional resources or technology or compromising patient safety and lead to improvement in both staff and patient satisfaction.
    The Journal of cardiovascular nursing 12/2013; 29(5). DOI:10.1097/JCN.0000000000000114 · 2.05 Impact Factor
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