Insights into postoperative respiration by using continuous wireless monitoring of respiratory rate on the postoperative ward: a cohort study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Change of respiratory rate (RespR) is the most powerful predictor of clinical deterioration. Brady- (RespR ≤ 8) and tachypnea (RespR ≥ 31) are associated with serious adverse events. Simultaneously, RespR is the least accurately measured vital parameter. We investigated the feasibility of continuously measuring RespR on the ward using wireless monitoring equipment, without impeding mobilization. Continuous monitoring of vital parameters using a wireless SensiumVitals® patch was installed and RespR was measured every 2 mins. We defined feasibility of adequate RespR monitoring if the system reports valid RespR measurements in at least 50% of time-points in more than 80% of patients during day- and night-time, respectively. Data from 119 patients were analysed. The patch detected in 171,151 of 227,587 measurements valid data for RespR (75.2%). During postoperative day and night four, the system still registered 68% and 78% valid measurements, respectively. 88% of the patients had more than 67% of valid RespR measurements. The RespR’s most frequently measured were 13–15; median RespR was 15 (mean 16, 25th- and 75th percentile 13 and 19). No serious complications or side effects were observed. We successfully measured electronically RespR on a surgical ward in postoperative patients continuously for up to 4 days post-operatively using a wireless monitoring system. While previous studies mentioned a digit preference of 18–22 for RespR, the most frequently measured RespR were 13–16. However, in the present study we did not validate the measurements against a reference method. Rather, we attempted to demonstrate the feasibility of achieving continuous wireless measurement in patients on surgical postoperative wards. As the technology used is based on impedance pneumography, obstructive apnoea might have been missed, namely in those patients receiving opioids post-operatively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1285–1293
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Monitoring and Computing
Issue number6
Early online date13 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


  • Monitoring
  • Patient safety
  • Respiratory rate
  • Vital parameter
  • Wireless monitoring

Cite this