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Table 1 Classification of alarms according to the existing standards

From: Alarms in the intensive care unit: how can the number of false alarms be reduced?

Type of alarm Alarm category Note Standard
Electric or pneumatic failure High priority   EN 794-1 [12]
FIO2 high or low At least medium priority Is applicable as soon as O2 concentration is EN 794-1
   different from that of ambient air  
Paw high High priority   EN 794-1
VE low* or VT low* At least medium priority   EN 794-1
Apnoea At least medium priority   EN 794-1
Disconnection At least medium priority Could be detected for example from a low Paw, EN 794-1
   a low ETCO2 and a low tidal volume  
Continuous pressure High priority Is relative to a continuous pressure kept over a EN 794-1
   given limit during more than 15 ± 1.5 s  
   High Medium priority   EN 864 [14]
   Low Medium priority   EN 864
FICO2 high Medium priority   EN 864
   High No priority indicated For neonatology EN 865 [15]
   Low No priority indicated   EN 865
   Sensor failure Low or medium priority   EN 865
  1. *According to these standards, except for the ventilators used in neonatology, the measurement of expiratory tidal volume (VT) or minute ventilation (VE) must be provided. Only the parameters and events listed in the standards are reported here. The values of high and low alarm limits are set by the medical staff. An alarm of high priority implies an immediate response from the staff; an alarm of medium priority implies a prompt response from the staff; an alarm of low priority is used to attract staff's attention. ETCO2, end tidal CO2; FICO2, concentration of carbon dioxide during inspiration; FIO2, concentration of dioxygen during inspiration; Paw, airway pressure; SpO2, saturation of oxyhemoglobin determined by pulse oximetry.