Emergency! Monitoring the sick patient: things that go beep in the night
In the 11th part of our series, Richard Marshall, Hugh Montgomery, David Howell, and Neil Goldsack explain how to understand and interpret common bedside monitoring
The allure of the gadget is always there for a doctor. It's just so tempting to rattle off a test or connect the patient to a machine that goes ping! We feel safer with our own clinical judgment if we can “put a number on it.” But just how useful are these machines and tests in acutely unwell patients? We hope that by now we have hammered home the importance of applying basic clinical skills in acutely unwell patients, in particular the examination. Despite this dictum, bedside monitoring is often helpful, and further tests are usually required to assess the extent of the problem more accurately and to guide treatment.
But are they to be trusted? What information do you need to have to interpret them successfully? In this month's article, we will outline some of the more simple bedside monitoring used, their principles and interpretation. In particular, we will