Ensure that patient and health care provider safety standards are met during this procedure including:

  • Risk assessment and appropriate PPE
  • 4 Moments of Hand Hygiene
  • Procedural Safety Pause is performed
  • Two patient identification
  • Safe patient handling practices
  • Biomedical waste disposal policies
  1. Monitor ECG
  2. Monitor Cardiovascular System
  3. Maintain Hemodynamic Monitoring Circuit
  4. Identify Need for Arterial Line
  5. Set Alarms



Monitor ECG

All CCTC patients have continuous ECG monitoring See ECG Monitoring Standard.



Monitor Cardiovascular System

Monitor BP (Systolic/Diastolic/Mean), PAP
(Systolic/ Diastolic/ Mean), HR, RR and SpO2 continuously and document q1h in the graphic record, for all new admissions, and for patients with arterial lines or pulmonary artery catheters, who are receiving medications that influence blood pressure, or whose neurological, cardiovascular or respiratory status has varied during the previous 24 hours.

RNs may decrease the frequency of BP monitoring in patients who remain stable without intervention, and who do not meet any of the requirements noted above. Monitoring frequency must be increased if the patient's condition deteriorates. When the frequency of monitoring is decreased, the rationale used to support the frequency change must be documented in the AI record.

Assess Color, Sensation and Movement of extremities distal to intravascular catheters q 1 h. Assess pulses and capillary refill q shift and document in 24 hour assessment record. Track pulses and document findings in graphic record q 1-4 h as required, for patients with with femoral lines, lower limb trauma, vascular surgery or impaired circulation.


Maintain Hemodynamic Circuit

RNs in CCTC are responsible for the priming, zeroing, leveling, and maintenance of hemodynamic pressure monitoring circuits and for the assessment and monitoring of hemodynamic pressures and waveforms.

RNs in CCTC may flush hemodynamic monitoring circuits as required to maintain patency.


Identify Need for Arterial Pressure Monitoring

Continuous arterial pressure monitoring is indicated for patients requiring BP monitoring >q1h, receiving continuous IV infusion of medications that affect cardiac output/blood pressure, requiring frequent blood gas monitoring or who are hemodynamically/neurologically unstable.

Arterial lines with continuous MAP monitoring is also required for patients with Intracranial Pressure Monitoring in order to continuously identify Cerebral Perfusion Pressure.

Prior to recording hemodynamic values, evaluate pressure waveforms, verify transducer levels, and ensure that sufficient flush volume and pressure is present.

When comparing NIBP to arterial line pressures, MBP provides the most appropriate comparison. Compare cuff to NIBP pressures taken from the same limb.

See Standard for Arterial Line Monitoring.

Cuff BP measurements become increasing less accurate when hypotension develops. Accuracy is also affected by user technique and cuff size. Insertion of an arterial line is easiest when a patient has an adequate BP. Continuous infusion of vasoactive drugs necessitates continuous BP monitoring to evaluate response to drug therapy and to identify adverse effects (see policy for deferred arterial line placement).

NIBP cuffs do not provide continuous pressure monitoring. Although more accurate than auscultative BP monitoring, NIBP cuffs can become inaccurate when peripheral circulation is compromised. NIBP cuffs are uncomfortable and can produce bruising in susceptible patients; they are not appropriate when >q1h BP monitoring is required. Repetitive inflation of a BP cuff can lead to false readings.

Systolic BP readings obtained from invasive arterial catheters are often accentuated, with reduced diastolic readings. NIBP measurements utilize different technology and may produce systolic readings that do not match the arterial line systolic reading. When correlating BP values, compare the mean readings, readings from the same limb and readings that are simulataneous. MBP from arterial lines and NIBP circuits provide more appropriate correlation.

Patients may have differing BPs between left and right limbs, and peripheral circulation may be reduced in shock.

Arterial pressures may be falsely elevated if an artery is in spasm. This can occur following repeated insertion attempts. A warm towel wrapped around the site may help to reduce spas


Set Alarms

alarms must be on for all patients requiring continuous arterial pressure monitoring. Alarm settings should be selected based on the degree of fluctuation in the patient's BP. Upper and lower alarm limits that represent clinically important changes are selected for each individual patient.

Nursing discretion is used to determine appropriate alarm parameters based on patient stability, variability and risk.

High and low alarm settings must be assessed and documented each hour in the graphic record.

Alarms may need to be disabled if an arterial line becomes positional. If an arterial line alarms is disabled, documentation in the AI record is required. Documentation should include the reason for disabling the alarm and should describe troubleshooting strategies.

Last Updated: February 2, 2020