"improving intensive care in Scotland"

Monitoring in ICU

Introduction

ICU is normally staffed such that a trained nurse is available on a one-to-one basis for each critically ill patient. The ongoing clinical assessment of these patients by the ICU team is pivotal in detecting signs of poor organ perfusion (shock) e.g. low conscious level and poor skin perfusion.

This clinical assessment is, however, not enough. Accurate assessment of the haemodynamic condition of the cricially ill patient can be very difficult.

Physiological parameters that are routinely monitored in ICU include ECG, respiratory rate (RR), Oxygen saturations (SpO2), urine output (UO) and Non invasive blood pressure (NIBP).

Basic investigations will include venous blood tests (biochemistry and haematology), arterial blood gasses (ABG) and Lactate.

The above investigations will give an indication of nutrient and Oxygen delivery to the tissues as well as an indication of how well the body is excreting CO2 and products of metabolism.

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