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Cutting ICU noise may help patients

Overnight noise levels in intensive care units often exceed levels recommended by the World Health Organization, according to US researchers.

A study by Yale University School of Medicine reviewed 70 ICU patient charts and clinical activities between midnight and 4am.

Results showed significant in-room activity, such as vital sign recording, and sound level maximums that exceeded 83 decibels every hour in every room monitored.

They concluded sleep disruption was prevalent and may be linked to delirium and immune dysfunction, as well as potentially worse outcomes due to patient sleep deprivation.

The study was presented last week at the annual meeting of the American College of Chest Physicians in Atlanta.

Readers' comments (2)

  • I worked in ICUs for year and we always dimmed the lights and used visual rather than auditory alarms. We also used our own clinical knowledge to monitor our patients' ongoing changes.

    I think it's inhumane to keep the lights blazing and the bleepers going all night. Are we trying to frighten people to death?

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  • 83 Decibels?! Is this true? This level of noise is the equivalent to a diesel train trundling past..being subjected to this level of noise is hardly conducive to recovery. Once again, common sense does not prevail..

    Unsuitable or offensive?

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