BACKGROUND: Accurate hemodynamic monitoring information can be obtained only if the transducer/amplifier system is used correctly. One major component of correct use is zeroing the transducer to provide a relative reference point on which to measure hemodynamic pressures. However, nursing requirements for frequency of zeroing are inconsistent. In addition, the concepts of leveling and zeroing are frequently confused. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether transducers drift from zero (+/- 2 mm Hg), and if they do not drift from zero, how long they hold a zero value. METHODS: The study, conducted in four midwestern hospitals, was carried out in two parts: an initial 10-day bench test of 50 transducers and an evaluation of 388 transducers attached to patients for 1 to 5 days. Transducers were monitored over time after being consistently leveled. RESULTS: Bench testing indicated that 100% of transducers did not drift +/- 2 mm Hg from zero during the study period. In the clinical study, only 1.3% of transducers drifted from zero. Five transducers drifted +/- 2 mm Hg from zero, with a range of -5 to 3 mm Hg. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that transducers used for hemodynamic monitoring require zeroing only on initial setup and disconnection from the amplifier.

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