Roman Legions over 2,000 years ago made provisions for their infantry wounded in battle to be treated and monitored by care givers. At the time, simple observation and palpitation for a heartbeat was the extent of available clinical resources. It was these keen senses of observation through trained eyes and skilled hands that led to an eventual application of dressings and organic ointments to heal blunt trauma and reduce the pain and suffering. Modern day physicians and ancillary staff still depend on this inherent developed human skill of observation to gauge a clinical response by evaluating the presence and physiological efficacy of a heart rate. Yet, in the 21st century, state-of-the-art technology is making every attempt to supersede this human first-hand observation with electronic physiological monitors designed to alert and even predict imminent cardiac impairment or heart failure.
How did we get here? And what current patient monitoring technology provides the best clinical data for diagnosing and predicting cardiac rhythm anomalies? Last, when does technology exceed its value in patient monitoring? And when does medical training and clinical instinct take over?
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