Head-Mounted Device May Be Helpful for Anesthesiologists

Allows them to spend more time monitoring patient, surgical field
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- The use of a head-mounted display (HMD) that shows patients' vital signs in anesthesiologists' field of vision during a procedure is associated with more time spent monitoring the patient and surgical field, according to research published in the April issue of Anesthesia & Analgesia.

David Liu, of the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, and colleagues analyzed data from six anesthesiologists who provided anesthesia during 36 rigid cystoscopy cases. Each performed six cases alternating between standard monitoring and standard monitoring plus a HMD that provided electrocardiogram data, heart rate, respiratory rate, and other information through a transparent monocle worn over the right eye.

The researchers found that, while the anesthesiologists were wearing the HMD, compared to standard monitoring, they spent less time looking at the anesthesia workstation (21 versus 25.3 percent) and more time looking at the patient and surgical field (55.9 versus 51.5 percent). The HMD didn't affect the frequency or average duration of looks toward the patient and surgical field or the workstation. Participants rated the HMD as "moderately useful."

"More research is needed to determine which types of data should be presented on the HMD, whether further exposure to the HMD leads to more marked behavioral changes, and whether the behavioral changes resulting from HMD use can lead to improved anesthesiologist performance in the operating room or improved patient outcomes," the authors conclude.

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