Detecting Patient Deterioration Early Using Continuous Heart rate and Respiratory rate Measurements in Hospitalized COVID-19 Patients.



Presenting symptoms of COVID-19 patients are unusual compared with many other illnesses. Blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate may stay within acceptable ranges as the disease progresses. Consequently, intermittent monitoring does not detect deterioration as it is happening. We investigated whether continuously monitoring heart rate and respiratory rate enables earlier detection of deterioration compared with intermittent monitoring, or introduces any risks.


Continuously monitoring heart rate and respiratory rate does not reliably detect deterioration in COVID-19 patients when assessed by ICU physicians.


In clinical practice, 48 (EMR) events occurred. None of the 4 ICU admissions were detected with the sensor. Of the 62 sensor events, 13 were true alarms (also EMR events). Of these, two were related to rapid response team calls. The true alarms were detected 39 min (SD = 113) before EMR events, on average. Interrater agreement was 10%. Severity of the 38 non-detected events was similar to the severity of 10 detected events.


When available, patients admitted to a COVID-19 ward received a wireless wearable sensor which continuously measured heart rate and respiratory rate. Two intensive care unit (ICU) physicians independently assessed sensor data, indicating when an intervention might be necessary (alarms). A third ICU physician independently extracted clinical events from the electronic medical record (EMR events). The primary outcome was the number of true alarms. Secondary outcomes included the time difference between true alarms and EMR events, interrater agreement for the alarms, and severity of EMR events that were not detected.

More about this publication

Journal of medical systems
  • Volume 47
  • Issue nr. 1
  • Pages 12
  • Publication date 24-01-2023

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