Patient monitors make it a lot easier for health care providers to keep track of changes in a patient’s condition. In a way, it eases the stress of having to actually do patient monitoring, whether you’re a nurse or a doctor. Depending on the reason for the medical monitoring, there are different systems available that best suits a specific target of interest. The blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rates are some of the most commonly included parameters in almost every patient monitor.
These medical monitors won’t work by themselves, however, and come with several accessories. Some of the more basic ones are as follows:
1. Finger sensors
There are several types of finger sensors, both reusable and disposable. They are used to monitor the patient’s heart rate, and are designed to be easily attached to the patient’s finger. The downside of these ease of attachment, though, is that some finger sensors, particularly those adhesive ones, can be just as easily removed or fall off the patient’s finger.
2. SPO2 Sensor
This sensor measures the SpO2, which is an estimate of SaO2 or arterial oxygen saturation. SaO2 pertains to the amount of oxygenated hemoglobin in the patient’s blood.
3. Temperature probe
This monitoring probe is used to measure a patient’s temperature, and can often be attached to any of the following locations: toes, fingers, ears, esophagus, rectum, and bladder - depending on the type of probe being used. They are meant to be used in the place of traditional thermometers, and can accurately record a patient’s temperature at a given time.
4. ECG cables
Attached to the monitor on one end and to the patient’s skin on the other, ECG cables are used in capturing the patient’s 12 leads or the electrical activity of the heart. This is necessary in order to know if the patient’s heart has a normal rhythm and activity.
5. Bedrail clamp
This is meant to mount the patient monitor to the bedrail, and can be pretty handy for rooms that don’t really have a ton of space for bulky monitors or carts.
6. CO2 Cannula
These are used to safely monitor a patient’s ventilation, particularly during loss of consciousness due to sedation such as general anesthesia. Some cannulas are dual-typed, which can monitor end-tidal CO2 on one lumen while providing the patient with nasal oxygen through the other lumen.
7. Blood pressure cuffs
Also called NIPB cuffs, these are wrapped around a patient’s limb (commonly the upper arm) and inflated with a connecting pump in order to measure the patient’s blood pressure.
8. Patient monitor cart
This is usually a movable cart on wheels where the patient monitor can be loaded on to. A good quality monitor cart has a sturdy base, with a high load capacity.
Patient monitor accessories come in different types and functions, and can be both re-usable across multiple patients, or single-use for one patient in order to prevent cross-contamination. Depending on the type of medical monitoring is ordered for a specific patient, different accessories would be required.