Continuous exposure to clinical alarms contributes to alarm fatigue in nurses, causing them to become desensitized or simply ignore the alarms. Serious consequences for patients may result, even consequences leading to death. Only 1% to 26% of monitoring alarms have been deemed clinically actionable, but few studies have been focused on the frequency of true arrhythmia alarms and the effects of turning them off.

Suba and colleagues explored the clinical relevancy of true accelerated ventricular rhythm (AVR) alarms in adult patients in intensive care units. They found the following:

  • Of all of the AVR alarms captured during a 31-day period, 94.9% were marked as false.

  • None of the true AVR alarms were clinically actionable and none were associated with a code blue or death.

AVR alarms are the highest contributor to false alarms, and true AVR alarms are infrequent. The authors recommend...

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