Alarm Fatigue, Respiratory Compromise

Pulse Oximetry False Alarms on Post-Surgical Floors

Adjusting pulse oximetry alarm thresholds to avoid false alarms and universally monitoring all triggered alarms improves patient safety—so why don’t we do it?

By J. Paul Curry, MD (anesthesiologist)

This is the second article in a series exploring the impact of pulse oximetry alarm thresholds in hospitalized patients. In the first article, “Improving the Safety of Post-Surgical Care,” I introduced the concept that, although the current approach to physiologic threshold monitoring (triggering an alarm when oxygen saturation falls below 90%) works great in the OR, it is unreliable on post-surgical floors.

In this post we will explore in more depth why the threshold for triggering an pulse oximetry alarm varies depending on the site of care.

Image source: http://thedoctorweighsin.com/pulse-oximetry-false-alarms-on-post-surgical-floors/

Image source: http://thedoctorweighsin.com/pulse-oximetry-false-alarms-on-post-surgical-floors/

To read a complete copy of this article, please click here.

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