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Abstracts and Programme: European Society of Anaesthesiologists; 9th Annual Meeting with the Swedish Society of Anaesthesiology; Gothenburg, Sweden, 7-10 April 2001: Evidence Based Medicine, Quality Insurance and Safety

Quality improvement in the ICU - ICU noise pollution

Parente, S.*; Loureiro, R.

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European Journal of Anaesthesiology (EJA): 2001 - Volume 18 - Issue - p 5
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Abstract A-17

Background and goal of the study: Noise pollution in ICU (intensive care unit) setting have been associated with: critical care staff burnout, hospital-induced sleep disruption, psychosis and hearing loss [1]. We aim to monitor, subsequently identify and control noise production in the ICU setting.

Materials and methods: We used a calibrated Brüel and Kjaer precision sound level meter type 2232 for the sound measurements in a 9 beds medical and surgical ICU. Measurement were preformed during a 15-days period without staff previous knowledge to reduce bias. Noise level measurements were random sampled at the pick of activity in the ICU (morning) and at lower activity periods.

Results and discussion: Maximum measured sound: 81.9 dBA. Mean measured sound: 70.9 dBA (8.0 SD). Minimum measured sound: 55.5 dBA. The results are all well over recommend levels for hospital and ICU [2,3].

Conclusions: This study points to the need for a continues quality improvement (CQI) project aimed at controlling the noise pollution in the ICU that:

  • identify, monitor and control noise sources (e.g. equipments, activities, staff, visitors);
  • reduce the number and duration of sound peaks greater than 80 dBA;
  • reduce the level of baseline background noise;
  • improve ICU patients and staff environmental quality.


1 Neil AH, Stephen MP, Julie BP et al. Crit Care Med 1999; 27 (1): 211-9.
2 Environmental Protection Agency. Information on Levels of Environmental Noise Requisite to Protect Public Health and Welfare with an Adequate Margin of Safety. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1974.
3 World Health Organization. Seminaire Interregional sur I'habitat dans ses rapports avec la sante publique (PN185.65). WHO Chron 1966; October.

Section Description

The abstracts published in this supplement have been typeset from camera-ready copies prepared by the authors. Every effort has been made to reproduce faithfully the abstracts as submitted. These abstracts have been prepared in accordance with the requirements of the European Society of Anaesthesiologists and have not been subjected to review nor editing by the European Journal Of Anaesthesiology. However, no responsibility is assumed by the organisers for any injury and/or damage to persons or property as a matter of products liability, negligence or otherwise, or from any use or operation of methods, products, instructions or ideas contained in the material herein. Because of the rapid advances in medical sciences, we recommend that independent verification of diagnoses and drug doses should be made.

© 2001 European Society of Anaesthesiology