What is a bedside monitor and how does it work?
A bedside monitor in Intensive Care looks like a television or computer screen and is usually located at the end of a Patient’s bed.
A bedside monitor in Intensive Care is serving the purpose of closely monitoring your loved ones vital signs. Vital signs that are constantly monitored and observed in Intensive Care so that changes in your loved ones condition can be recognised immediately and managed immediately. Thereby activity from a Patient’s body is being transmitted into data displayed on the bedside monitor. The data displayed by the monitor comes from the devices attached to your loved one such as ECG dots on the chest or oxygen saturation probe on the finger. Those devices are connected to the monitor with leads, sending electrical signals to the monitor that display parameters, waveforms and numbers on the screen. Vital signs that are constantly monitored include
- the heart(cardiac monitoring), includes constant display of an electrocardiograph(ECG) in order to assess heart rate and heart rhythm
- Blood pressure monitoring(haemodynamic monitoring), either via an Arterial Catheter or via a blood pressure cuff device, measured on a Patient’s arm
- Respiratory monitoring such as breaths per minute and oxygen saturation(oxygen levels in the blood or pulse oximetry)
- If your loved one is mechanically ventilated(Ventilators (Breathing Machines) with a Breathing Tube/ Endotracheal Tube or with a Tracheostomy, CO2 (carbone dioxide) is measured as well, referred to as EtCO2 or end-tidal carbon dioxide concentration, measured at the end of expiration
- CVP(central venous pressure monitoring) or the filling status(fluid status) in a Patient is measured via the central line(Central Venous Lines)
- Body temperature
- Neurological monitoring such as Intracranial Pressure Monitoring is common and necessary in major head injuries, such as in Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
- Less frequently used heamodynamic monitoring parameters are Cardiac output, cardiac index and Pulmonary Artery pressures(PA-pressure) via Pulmonary Artery Catheters. Those parameters are mainly monitored after heart conditions such as Heart Transplant, Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG) surgery and Lung Transplantation
- other less frequently used monitoring parameters include Intra-abdominal pressure monitoring(monitoring pressure in the tummy)
The monitor has alarms for each parameter monitored, in order to remind the bedside nurse that some of the monitored vital signs are out of range and that some of the vital signs might need active management. The alarm can also go off, just by a Patient moving, as the monitor is a very sensitive device and responds to movement as well. All Patients admitted to Intensive Care are constantly attached to a monitor.
Of course, if you have any questions or concerns, please discuss them with the ICU nurses and doctors.
All Intensive Care interventions and procedures carry a degree of potential risk even when performed by skilled and experienced staff. Please discuss these issues with the medical and nursing staff who are caring for your loved one.
The information contained on this page is general in nature and therefore cannot reflect individual Patient variation. It is meant as a guideline to specific information which will be discussed with you by the Doctors and Nurses caring for your loved one. INTENSIVE CARE HOTLINE attests to the accuracy of the information contained here BUT takes no responsibility for how it may apply to an individual Patient. Please refer to the full disclaimer.