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Vital signs to monitor hospital patients: a systematic review

Sandeep Moola, Yifan Xue, Craig Lockwood, Tim Schultz


Review Objectives:
The primary objective of this review is to find the best available practices and information in relation to the monitoring of patient vital signs in hospitals and also to summarise the findings of relevant studies.
The specific objectives of the review are to determine:
• the purpose of monitoring patients’ vital signs;
• how to measure vital signs (methods);
• accuracy of the methods used;
• the optimal frequency for monitoring vital signs; and
• limitations of vital signs measurements.
In addition to this, the review will seek to identify additional issues of importance such as the value of vital signs as indicators of serious illness and the role of new technology in patient monitoring. This review will also seek to find whether the traditional four vital signs can be extended to include a fifth vital sign, such as pulse oximetry or pain.

Criteria for considering studies for this review:
Types of participants: 
Studies that include neonatal, paediatric and adult hospital patients will be included in the review.

Types of intervention: 
Interventions of interest are those related to the determination of:
• the optimal frequency of vital sign measurement;
• the limitations of vital signs; and
• the measurements needed to ensure patient safety or adequate monitoring.

Types of outcome measures: 
Outcomes of interest include accuracy, the required frequency of or the need for vital signs.


vital sign; patient observation; patient monitoring

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