Friday, January 20, 2006

Saturday January 21, 2006
Noise level in ICU !!

Unnecessary noise in ICU can mask vital alarms, verbal communications and may be an unseen added cause of mental stress for staff itself. There are 2 kinds of noise in ICU - one you can't control like "ventilator and IV pump alarms" and other you can modify like "conversations and TV".

One interesting and landmark work was done by Kahn and coll. which showed that:

1. "Talking" and "TV" contribute to 49% of noise in ICU.

2. EPA (Enviromental Protection Agency) recommends noise level not to exceed beyond 45 dBA in hospitals but mean peak sound level in study (medical ICU) was 80 dBA !! (which showed mark decrease with behavior modification).

Do you know beepers contribute 1% to ICU noise pollution with 84 dBA - why not to turn it to vibrate mode !!. Click
here to see various measures which can decrease noise pollution in ICU: (

References: click to get abstrat/article

1. Identification and modification of environmental noise in an ICU setting - Chest, Vol 114, 535-540 - full article available as pdf
Contribution of the Intensive Care Unit Environment to Sleep Disruption in Mechanically Ventilated Patients and Healthy Subjects - American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine Vol 167. pp. 708-715, (2003)
Noise in the postanaesthesia care unit - British Journal of Anaesthesia, 2002, Vol. 88, No. 3 369-373