Anesthesiologists rely on physiologic monitors, ventilators, and other medical equipment to alert them to potentially life-threatening conditions and provide vital life-support functions. Equipment such as ventilators and cardiopulmonary bypass machines use alarms to alert clinicians to potentially life-threatening automation failures (Anesthesiology 2020;133:653-65). Because an alarm must immediately attract the attention of the clinician, it is designed to be intrusive and distracting. Manufacturers deliberately set alarm defaults to a high sensitivity so that events are not missed, which causes many false alarms. An unintended side effect is that alarms are often ignored (Biomed Instrum Technol 2012;46:268-77). During a critical event, a cascade of alarms, each signaling a single abnormality, creates a noisy, distracting environment while doing little to improve patient care. The resulting alarm fatigue can cause clinicians to ignore alarms. Even in non-critical situations, an excessive number of alarms, many of which do not require any...
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Safety Tip of the Month| November 2021
ASA Monitor November 2021, Vol. 85, 23.
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Alarm Management. ASA Monitor 2021; 85:23 doi: https://doi.org/10.1097/01.ASM.0000798532.62202.55
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