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Use of Pagers With an Alarm Escalation System to Reduce Cardiac Monitor Alarm Signals

Cvach, Maria M. DNP, RN, CCRN; Frank, Robert J. CET; Doyle, Pete PhD, CHFP; Stevens, Zeina Khouri PhD, RN

doi: 10.1097/NCQ.0b013e3182a61887

Alarm fatigue desensitizes nurses to alarm signals and presents potential for patient harm. This project describes an innovative method of communicating cardiac monitor alarms to pagers using an alarm escalation algorithm. This innovation was tested on 2 surgical progressive care units over a 6-month period. There was a significant decrease in mean frequency and duration of high-priority monitor alarms and improvement in nurses' perception of alarm response time, using this method of alarm communication.

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The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Maryland.

Correspondence: Maria M. Cvach, DNP, RN, CCRN, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, 600 N Wolfe St, Baltimore, MD 21287 (

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Accepted for publication: July 22, 2013

Published ahead of print: August 19, 2013

© 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins