Device helps ICU patients by filtering out noise from medical alarms

June 21, 2017, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

A team of investigators at Vanderbilt University Medical Center wants to improve patient outcomes in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) settings by silencing audible medical alarms in hospital rooms.

Auditory medical alarms have created hazards for patient recovery, said Joseph J. Schlesinger, M.D., assistant professor of Anesthesia, Division of Critical Care Medicine at Vanderbilt. His team has created a that removes the alarm sounds while preserving the patient's ability to hear human and environmental stimuli, notably speech.

The findings, "Frequency-Selective Silencing Device for Digital Filtering of Audible Medical Alarm Sounds to Enhance ICU Patient Recovery," were presented at the International Community for Auditory Display (ICAD) at Penn State this week. The paper highlights how loud noises produced by clinical alarms contribute to psychological problems like delirium and PTSD and provides innovative solutions to enhance the .

"The shrill and quantity of audible medical alarms are responsible for many negative consequences for ," said Schlesinger. "The noise of the alarm combined with its frequency often disturbs patients' sleep patterns, which can be very disorienting.

"We wanted to create a way that clinicians would still be alerted to necessary patient alarms, while providing a better environment for the patient's healing process," he said. "The question became - how do we filter out the alarms from the patient experience without harming the patient's ability to hear and comprehend speech as well as be in tune to other environmental sounds?"

Schlesinger collaborated with students from Vanderbilt University Department of Biomedical Engineering to develop a device worn by the patient that eliminates alarm sounds from the patient perspective by digitally subtracting sound waves while preserving and improving speech comprehension.

The team tested the in-ear device in a simulated ICU environment. The results showed clinical and statistical improvement in alarm filtering.

Schlesinger hopes his team's findings will spark collaborations across the country to further develop devices that are medical grade, affordable and reusable.

"This will need further study in large patient populations to look at , benefits and safety," he said. "I anticipate we will have some interest from multiple sites to investigate use in patients.

"Future directions also include a device for clinicians that would transmit the signals directly to the nurse and physician caring for a particular patient."

Schlesinger holds adjunct faculty appointments in Vanderbilt's School of Nursing, Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences, and the Division of Biomedical Engineering within the School of Engineering.

In addition to his faculty appointment at Vanderbilt, he is a research member of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology, and an Adjunct Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

Explore further: New findings aim to improve global medical device standard on auditory alarms

Related Stories

New findings aim to improve global medical device standard on auditory alarms

June 9, 2017
The global medical device standard IEC 60601-1-8, first published in 2006, specifies safety and performance requirements for auditory alarms in medical electrical equipment and systems used in hospitals and other health-care ...

Hospital alarms blend together, fail to alert caregivers of emergencies

March 17, 2017
The failure of hospital caregivers to respond to medical alerts is often attributed to "alarm fatigue"—the idea that nurses or doctors can become desensitized to the nonstop cacophony of beeps that patient-monitoring devices ...

Rethinking hospital alarms

May 27, 2016
Hospital alarms are currently ranked as the "top medical technology hazard" within the United States. On average, there are about 480,000 patients in hospitals—each generating about 135 clinical alarms per day. But studies ...

Nurse! what's taking so long?

April 11, 2017
(HealthDay)—When a bedside alarm goes off in a child's hospital room, anxious parents expect nurses to respond pronto.

Implantable medical device is designed to warn patients of impending heart attack

April 13, 2012
More than 30% of the one million heart attack victims in the United States each year die before seeking medical attention. Although widespread education campaigns describe the warning signs of a heart attack, the average ...

Modern monitoring systems contribute to alarm fatigue in hospitals

December 4, 2014
Jessica Zègre-Hemsey, a cardiac monitoring expert at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her colleagues at the University of California San Francisco, revealed more than 2.5 million alarms were triggered ...

Recommended for you

Suicide and homicide rates show large racial disparities across US states

April 23, 2018
Southern and Western states have the highest rates of white firearm suicide, while Midwestern states have highest rates of black firearm homicide, according to new research from McGill University. The findings place a spotlight ...

Upswings in older-age cognitive ability may not be universal

April 23, 2018
A growing body of evidence indicates that rates of dementia may be declining, in part because older adults' cognitive abilities, such as learning and memory functions, are better than those of older adults in the past. But ...

Alcohol intake may be linked to premenstrual syndrome

April 23, 2018
Drinking alcohol may be linked to pre-menstrual syndrome, or PMS for short, suggests a pooled analysis of published study data in the online journal BMJ Open.

Vigorous physical activity may be linked to heightened risk of motor neurone disease

April 23, 2018
Vigorous physical activity, either in leisure time or in work, may be linked to a heightened risk of developing motor neurone disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS for short, suggests research published ...

Fetal exposure to moderate/high caffeine levels linked to excess childhood weight gain

April 23, 2018
Exposure to moderate to high caffeine levels while in the womb is linked to excess weight gain in early childhood, suggests a large observational study published in the online journal BMJ Open.

A dose of empathy may support patients in pain

April 20, 2018
Research published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine suggests that empathic, positive messages from doctors may be of small benefit to patients suffering from pain, and improve their satisfaction about the care ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.