Monitoring (medicine)

A monitor in the medical sense (including vital signs monitor ) is a device or combination of devices are measured with the vital signs of a living being and monitored.

Monitors are particularly during anesthesia in surgery in critically ill patients in intensive care, while studies with sedation or with other pathologies that require continuous control monitoring (monitoring). For use in emergency patients mobile devices are available.

Depending on the purpose and statutory requirements (eg minimum standards of monitoring during anesthesia ), the devices are equipped with many different measurement parameters, there are also modular devices can be expanded by inserting corresponding parameter boxes.


  • ECG to assess the rhythm and heart rate ( ECG abbreviation )
  • Blood pressure either measured non-invasively via an upper arm or thigh cuff or invasively through an arterial catheter ( a cannula in an artery ) in the A.radialis or femoral artery (abbreviation NIBP or IBP)
  • Oxygen saturation as determined by a transcutaneous sensor light by absorption measurement, the method is called pulse oximetry ( SpO2 abbreviation )
  • Body temperature is monitored by temperature probes, which can be inserted into the rectum or in the esophagus, as measured (abbreviation TEMP)
  • Capnography, the measurement of carbon dioxide share in the exhaled air (abbreviation EtCO2 = end-tidal CO2)

This monitoring can blood pressure be expanded via a Swan -Ganz catheter or special forms of electroencephalography (EEG ) are necessary, to other parameters such as central venous pressure, intracranial pressure, measurement of cardiac output, pulse contour analysis ( PiCCO ), Pulmonary.


Depending on the application, different requirements are placed on the equipment, so that various types are in use.

  • In anesthesia monitors are integral parts of the anesthesia machine and often installed there permanently. In intensive care, the monitors are networked together and connected to a central monitoring station, so that from there all the important parameters of all patients can be retrieved.
  • In emergency services, intensive in transport or rescue helicopter using small, rugged monitors or defibrillators, which also have a Monitorfunkion.
  • For monitoring during rehabilitation equipment combinations available that is transmitted by radio transmission, the measured data to the monitoring center. This allows monitoring of the patient in a normal environment (leisure activity) is possible, so that more concrete statements about the daily load are possible.

Furthermore, there are special devices that allow monitoring due to acute problems in normal life, such as the transmission of vital functions via wireless phones to emergency medical centers. → telemonitoring

Alarm limits, documentation of values

Become an individually adjustable limit values ​​exceeded in the measured parameters under or or detected in a complex analysis of disorders such as cardiac arrhythmias, graded visual and audible alarms can be triggered. These can be transferred as well as the measured parameters on a patient monitoring network (PMN ) to a central station, as well as other vital signs monitors. So doctors and nurses are used to pay attention to critical situation and can react faster.

Now offer almost all vital signs monitors the chance to take over the measured parameters on interfaces in a patient data management system ( PDMS). This leads to a substantial improvement in the ease and documentation.


In hospitals, there is a need for a complete recording of high-resolution medical data ( vital parameters: eg heart rate, blood pressure and primary signals: eg ECG) monitoring of monitors. This provides a quick overview of the current status of the patient, taking into account the history. Through a recording over a longer period of time can, in retrospect, single events analyzed in more detail. These data are used for the current patient monitoring (eg in intensive care medicine ), for patient documentation and data analysis in the field of medical research.

This PC-based patient monitoring special tools are used. The serial interface of the high-resolution monitor vital data be provided to the hospital network available and collected in the PC, visualized and stored. While patient monitors can store vital data and primary signals only for a certain period, is possible with the use of such a system is a long-term archiving.

  • Medical