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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 58  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 368-369  

Monitor screen display inversion: Potential for risk during anaesthesia

Department of Anaesthesia, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Date of Web Publication23-Jun-2014

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Sheetal Y Chiplonkar
Department of Anesthesia, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre Hospital, Anushakti Nagar, Mumbai - 400 094, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5049.135101

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How to cite this article:
Bhirud P, Chiplonkar SY. Monitor screen display inversion: Potential for risk during anaesthesia. Indian J Anaesth 2014;58:368-9

How to cite this URL:
Bhirud P, Chiplonkar SY. Monitor screen display inversion: Potential for risk during anaesthesia. Indian J Anaesth [serial online] 2014 [cited 2021 Jun 25];58:368-9. Available from: https://www.ijaweb.org/text.asp?2014/58/3/368/135101


Equipment failure is not new in the operating room despite thorough pre-operative check protocols. These failures are unforeseen and necessitate instant out of the box solutions from the anaesthesiologist. Of all the anaesthesia related problems, anaesthesia equipment failure accounts for 0.1-0.4%. [1] Problems relating to breathing circuits are most common. [1],[2] Monitor malfunctions constitute 30% of equipment related problems [2] and while this frequency is low, the nuisance value of such malfunctions could be very high. Importance of monitoring and interpretation of data are crucial at all stages of anaesthesia. Artefacts in the monitoring equipment not only confound interpretation, but may lead to faulty clinical actions and unwarranted anxiety in the operating room.

We came across transient repetitive malfunction of a multiparameter monitor display. The monitor in use was the Infinity Gamma ® Monitor (Drager© Medical AG and Co., KGaA Moislinger Allee 53/55, D-23542 Lubeck, Germany) used in a case of perianal abscess drainage under general anaesthesia in the casualty operation theatre. 5-min after administration of general anaesthesia the patient was positioned in lithotomy position. At this point, the display screen with all the numerical readings and waveforms inverted [Figure 1]. The orientation of the monitor changed with the lowermost window now displayed topmost. Within 15 s, the display reverted to normal only to invert again within the next few seconds. This sequence of events continued throughout in a random and unpredictable manner. Since the capnograph was being monitored on a separate screen (Anaesthesia gas monitor-Vamos ® , Drager) that was the only parameter consistently available to the anaesthesiologist apart from the age old 'hand on pulse.' Since it was a short 15-min case in the casualty theatre far away from the main operation theatre complex, it was difficult to arrange for an alternate monitor. However, the case management was uneventful.
Figure 1: Inverted display on monitor

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On enquiry with the technical expert of Drager© Medical, India, it was concluded that the problem was in the display software of the monitor and such a problem had never been notified to Drager© before. The monitor worked well without any display problems for the next 7 days. However, it continued to malfunction sporadically thereafter and was sent for replacement.

Various factors such as electrosurgical unit interference, motion artefacts, excessive ambient light, shivering, poor contact, sweat, evoked potentials, etc., are known to interfere with the electrocardiography (ECG) [3] and pulse oximeter waveforms. Selvan et al. have reported earthing faults causing ECG artefacts leading to serious haemodynamic consequences secondary to intra-aortic balloon pump trigger failure. [4] According to Takla et al., the current generation of monitors does not eliminate artefacts effectively due to the presence of linear filters. [5] They also suggest that this problem can be overcome by artificial intelligence and advanced signal processing methods. [5] The problem we encountered of display inversion was not related to the artefacts, but was due to software malfunction and may still occur in a monitor with advanced processing methods. In the event of monitor malfunction, a backup monitor should be made available. A defibrillator which is always present in the operation theatre complex can be handy for ECG monitoring until another multipara monitor is arranged. Availability of pulse oximeter module in the defibrillator would be an added advantage.

   References Top

1.Fasting S, Gisvold SE. Equipment problems during anaesthesia - Are they a quality problem? Br J Anaesth 2002;89:825-31.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Desai S, Torgal S, Rao R. Breathing circuit obstruction caused by kink in the reinforced kink-resistant circle system tube. Indian J Anaesth 2013;57:96-7.  Back to cited text no. 2
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3.Patel SI, Souter MJ. Equipment-related electrocardiographic artifacts: Causes, characteristics, consequences, and correction. Anesthesiology 2008;108:138-48.  Back to cited text no. 3
4.Selvan RB, Rao PB, Ramachandran TR, Veliath DG. Earthing defect: A cause for unstable hemodynamics. Ann Card Anaesth 2012;15:47-9.  Back to cited text no. 4
[PUBMED]  Medknow Journal  
5.Takla G, Petre JH, Doyle DJ, Horibe M, Gopakumaran B. The problem of artifacts in patient monitor data during surgery: A clinical and methodological review. Anesth Analg 2006;103:1196-204.  Back to cited text no. 5


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