Monitoring Pitfalls

Speaker: Lynette Bester

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Monitoring Pitfalls


Electronic monitoring devices are becoming increasingly available and sophisticated. They play an important role in safe anaesthesia, but does not replace a skilled anaesthesiologist.

All the information produced by monitors needs to be recorded and interpreted by the person monitoring the patient before decisions can be made and actions taken. Monitoring will not prevent all adverse incidents or accidents in the peri-operative period. However, there is substantial evidence that it reduces the risks of incidents and accidents both by detecting the consequences of errors, and by giving early warning that the condition of a patient is deteriorating

It is important to understand how a monitor generates the numbers it displays and to recognise common errors made by the monitor and how to troubleshoot, the patient first and then the monitor.

“Treat the patient NOT the monitor!”

Learning objectives:

1. List the different monitoring devices that can be used during anaesthesia.

2. Describe the monitor functions.

3. Describe monitor limitations.

4. Indicate the problems that may occur during anaesthesia, and understand how to avoid these, or manage them if they occur.

5. Discuss the importance of record keeping during monitoring.