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Choosing the right multi-parameter monitor

A multiparameter monitor is a medical device for monitoring a patient’s vital signs. It is mainly used in intensive care, hospitalization or ER. In general, basic models are used to monitor cardiac activity (ECG), blood pressure (NIBP), respiration (RESP), oxygen saturation (SpO2) and temperature (TEMP).

They display the value of each parameter while presenting the evolution curves over time. For some models, modules can be added to measure other parameters (ETCO2, CO2, pCO2, IBP, EEG, EMG, etc.). They have audible and visual alarms to alert medical personnel to any risks related to the patient’s condition. Some monitors are designed for veterinary use.

View multi-parameter monitors

  • Which configuration should you choose when purchasing a multi-parameter monitor?

    EMTEL Śliwa modular multi-parameter monitor

    It is important to take into account the possible evolutions of patient monitoring applications within different departments. Over time, either applications will prove to be sustainable or they will diversify.

    We can thus distinguish between:

    Depending on the scope of the application, lightweight and portable modules should be favored for field interventions.

  • How to manage multiple multi-parameter monitors within a service?

    Monitors can be connected to a central patient monitoring station. This gives healthcare teams an overview of the parameters for all the patients connected to a monitor. It has alarms in case problems are observed during measurement.

    Central patient monitoring stations are powerful and effective tools. They are mainly distinguished by the number of patients (beds) they can monitor simultaneously. Some allow up to 48 or even 66 patients to be monitored at the same time, with displays on several high definition screens. Sometimes signal analysis software, especially for arrhythmia, can reduce false alarms without compromising patient safety.

    There are specific monitoring stations for the veterinary sector and others for fetal monitoring. In the latter case, the central unit displays fetal and maternal parameters (see question 4).

  • What options are available for multi-parameter monitors?

    In addition to the monitor configuration, it is helpful to consider the following options:

    • Wireless data transmission: the absence of connection cables can be an asset in the hospital environment, particularly for ambulatory monitoring. It limits the risks of infection, disconnection incidents, etc. However, the security of the computer network and the data transmitted can be an issue. Such systems can be hacked, which can lead not only to the hacking of the device but also to the hacking of the entire hospital server. In recent years, “ransomware,” cyber attack software that sends ransom requests to unlock affected computers, has increased in number. Refusal can lead to the theft of a multitude of patient records.
    • Interoperability of measured data: in cases where data comes from several monitoring modules, the system must be able to integrate, recognize and manage them all.
    • Integrated defibrillator: this is very useful for immediate intervention in case of cardiac arrest. Monitors with integrated defibrillators are used in ER.
    • Touch screen: this has become almost indispensable in the use of monitoring systems.
    • Power supply: there are battery-powered models. They are mainly used in the field (for emergency medicine for example) or as backup in the event of a power failure.

    Different options:

    • Wireless data transmission
    • Interoperability of measured data
    • Integrated defibrillator
    • Touchscreen
    • Power supply
  • Are there specific fields of application for multi-parameter monitors?

    Huntleigh fetal monitor

    There are two specific types worth noting:

    • Fetal and maternal monitors: are designed to measure the vital signs of a pregnant woman and her fetus. These systems monitor uterine and fetal activity, including fetal heart rate. They also have advanced maternal monitoring functions including temperature, oxygen saturation, ECG and non-invasive blood pressure measurement. They offer extensive visualization including during childbirth, with a color screen and secondary screen. Some monitors also have a post-partum mode.
    • Monitoring during anesthesia: these monitors are compatible with an anesthetic gas analyzer. In addition to vital signs, they display information on the gases injected during an operation.
  • Are there any precautions to take when installing and using a multi-parameter monitor?

    When installing a multi-parameter monitor, it is first necessary to ensure that there is an electrical network that meets safety standards.

    Avoid installing a monitor near magnetic fields, such as an MRI room, for example. It is also important to avoid bending or pulling the ECG cables as much as possible and to ensure that no liquid flows into the unit during cleaning.

    The use of the device requires adequate training, ideally carried out by the manufacturer. It usually takes place when the device is commissioned. The nurse using the device can roughly analyze the ECG waveform if he or she has been trained by a doctor, but the more detailed analysis must be performed by a competent doctor.

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