What is minimal monitoring?
The definition of what constitutes minimal monitoring rests not so much on a scientific analysis of physiologic variables and their specificity, sensitivity, and predictiveness, but more on a usage pattern in a given community or country. In the United States, the minimal monitoring standards accepted in the majority of institutions and used for routine anesthesia care of patients not classified as high risk include (1) the alert anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist observer, (2) an electrocardiogram, (3) a blood pressure measuring device, and (4) an oxygen analyzer in the breathing circuit. To this basic cluster of monitors can be added a finger plethysmograph, a neuromuscular junction monitor, a temperature probe, and an esophageal/precordial stethoscope which are used in many communities. In the near future we expect to see a capnograph and a pulse oximeter added to this list, and later on the automated anesthesia record.
Key wordsMinimal monitoring Physiologic variables Usage patterns of communities and countries
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