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Vital Signs Monitors

Vital signs monitors are widely used medical devices that provide the most common assessment done on every patient who enters a medical setting. Heart rate or pulse, breathing rate or respiratory rate, temperature, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, heart rhythm, and brain waves can all be measure by individual devices, tools, or machines. Some of these are blood pressure cuffs, pulse oximeters, fetal heart rate monitoring, EEGs, and EKGs. The earliest combined monitors came as a result of the need for monitoring patients during anesthesia. These monitors record and store thousands of pieces of data and show patient status in real time. Vital sign monitors today are outfitted with all sorts of warning sounds and visuals alerting medical personnel to changes in a patient's vital signs. Nurses and doctors routinely employ their use especially in critical care settings where physiologic responses can occur suddenly and unpredictably.

Types of Vital Signs Monitors

Types of vital sign monitors are (1) Bedside intermittent or continuous which have cables and leads that are attached to the patient with video displays at the bedside or remotely (2) Portable monitors both battery powered and conventionally through a wall outlet.

Medium-acuity telemetry systems are widely utilized in medical and surgical wards. These systems uses leads (wires) attached to the patient for EKG purposes and wired to a small mobile device to fit in a pocket. They alert and monitor the patient in and out of bed. Bedside and central monitoring are available.

Low acuity continuous monitoring systems are being developed that are less invasive and do not touch the patient directly. One such 'contactless' monitor provides continuous monitoring of heart rate, respiration rate, and bed motion for patients in medical, surgical, orthopedics, isolation, post-partum, skilled nursing facilities, long-term or acute care, and rehabilitation settings. The sensor is placed under the mattress and uses a piezoelectric sensor that is sensitive to mechanical strains, changes in pressure, temperature, acceleration, and force by converting these conditions to an electrical charge.

Common Features in a Basic Combined Monitors

  • Heart rate
  • Respiratory rate
  • Blood pressure monitoring via the oscillometric method (non-invasive or invasive)
  • Dual Temperature
  • Mean arterial pressure
  • Oxygen saturation via pulse oximetry Spo2)
  • Large LED digital color display, Storage, Printing, and Connectivity to EMR

The latest vital signs monitors feature large 12-inch color touchscreen displays that are easy to use. Vital signs monitors vary by price, design, and features. Some vital signs monitors are built on a modular foundation. Monitors such as the ADC Adview 2 are modular monitors. The Mortara Surveyor S19 Patient Monitor comes with a long list of features, an 18.5” touchscreen monitor, and external recorder. The Welch Allyn Connex 6400 Vital Signs Monitors can be ordered in a wide range of configurations to optimally meet the customer’s needs.

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