To implement data-driven vital sign parameters to reduce bedside monitor alarm burden.


Single-center, quality-improvement initiative with historical controls assessing the impact of age-based, inpatient-derived heart rate (HR) and respiratory rate (RR) parameters on a 20-bed acute care ward that serves primarily pediatric cardiology patients. The primary outcome was the number of alarms per monitored bed day (MBD) with the aim to decrease the alarms per MBD. Balancing measures included the frequency of missed rapid response team activations, acute respiratory code events, and cardiorespiratory arrest events in the unit with the new vital sign parameters.


The median number of all cardiorespiratory monitor alarms per MBD decreased by 21% from 52 (baseline period) to 41 (postintervention period) (P < .001). This included a 17% decrease in the median HR alarms (9–7.5 per MBD) and a 53% drop in RR alarms (16.8–8.0 per MBD). There were 57 rapid response team activations, 8 acute respiratory code events, and no cardiorespiratory arrest events after the implementation of the new parameters. An evaluation of HRs and RRs recorded at the time of the event revealed that all patients with HRs and/or RRs out of range per former default parameters would also be out of range with the new parameters.


Implementation of data-driven HR and iteratively derived RR parameters safely decreased the total alarm frequency by 21% in a pediatric acute care unit.

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