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Journal of Trauma Nursing:
doi: 10.1097/JTN.0000000000000010
Research

Full of Sound and Fury, Signifying Nothing: Burden of Transient Noncritical Monitor Alarms in a Trauma Resuscitation Unit

Colton, Katharine BA; Dinardo, Theresa RN, MSN, CCRN; Hu, Peter F. PhDc; Xiong, Wei PhD; Hu, Eric Z. MS; Reed, George BA; DuBose, Joseph J. MD; Stansbury, Lynn G. MD, MPH; Mackenzie, Colin F. MD; Chiu, William C. MD; Miller, Catriona PhD; Fang, Raymond MD; Stein, Deborah M. MD, MPH; Scalea, Thomas M. MD

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Abstract

We examined the types of patient monitor alarms encountered in the trauma resuscitation unit of a major level 1 trauma center. Over a 1-year period, 316688 alarms were recorded for 6701 trauma patients (47 alarms/patient). Alarms were more frequent among patients with a Glasgow Coma Scale of 8 or less. Only 2.4% of all alarms were classified as “patient crisis,” with the rest in the presumably less critical categories “patient advisory,” “patient warning,” and “system warning.” Nearly half of alarms were ≤5 seconds in duration. In this patient population, a 2-second delay would reduce alarms by 25%, and a delay of 5 seconds would reduce all alarms by 49%.

© 2013 Society of Trauma Nurses

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