BACKGROUND: In 55% of progressive care units, someone is assigned to watch the cardiac monitors at all times, but the effect of this practice on patients' outcomes has not been examined. OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of continual observation of telemetry units by a monitor watcher on mortality, frequency of transfer to a critical care unit, and the occurrence of five life-threatening dysrhythmias. METHODS: Data for this quasi-experimental study were collected on 1185 patients for a 9-month period in 1993 when the cardiac progressive care unit had a monitor watcher and on 1198 patients for a 9-month period in 1994 when the unit had no monitor watcher. RESULTS: We found no significant differences in mortality, frequency of transfer to a critical care unit, or the occurrence of three of the five dysrhythmias examined. The presence of a monitor watcher was associated with significantly fewer episodes of sustained ventricular tachycardia but more bradyarrhythmias. For both sustained ventricular tachycardia and bradyarrhythmias, the monitor watcher variable remained in the final multivariate logistic regression models. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of a monitor watcher was not associated with lower rates of most adverse outcomes evaluated; however, fewer episodes of sustained ventricular tachycardia occurred when a monitor watcher was present. Sustained ventricular tachycardia is life-threatening, disturbing to the patient, and may result in a longer hospital stay while medical therapy is being adjusted. The results of this study support the use of a monitor watcher to prevent sustained ventricular tachycardia.
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Articles| July 01 1997
Effect of dedicated monitor watchers on patients' outcomes
Am J Crit Care (1997) 6 (4): 318–323.
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M Funk, JA Parkosewich, CR Johnson, I Stukshis; Effect of dedicated monitor watchers on patients' outcomes. Am J Crit Care 1 July 1997; 6 (4): 318–323. doi: https://doi.org/10.4037/ajcc1918.104.22.1688
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