The world’s most advanced medical monitoring equipment is being installed at two of Canada’s largest airports, forcing emergency crews to rely on oxygen monitors to keep patients in their seats at high altitudes.
The new devices, which are meant to be used by health care workers to monitor patients at high pressure in crowded hospitals, have been in place for about a year at Pearson International Airport in Toronto and Toronto-Dominion Airport in Ottawa.
They are designed to monitor oxygen levels in the blood, and to detect the presence of a person who is under pressure.
But in some circumstances, such as if a patient has a heart attack or stroke, the equipment can fail.
In these instances, the doctors are left with the choice of using the device or not.
Dr. Peter MacKay, a cardiac surgeon at Toronto General Hospital, has used the equipment on about 100 patients who have been treated at the airport since last September.
“We’re seeing more patients come in who have the blood pressure in the 90s and we’re seeing people who are at the 90 to 120s,” MacKay said.
“It’s a real concern because when they’re doing CPR, they have to work the heart rate up to 120.
When you have an oxygen mask, if you’ve got the mask on the patient and they’re getting really low and their pulse is not normal, then you have to go back to the monitoring.
You can’t just turn off the mask.”
The new monitoring equipment will cost $8,000 a year to operate and is being paid for by the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority, which manages both airports.
But there is no guarantee that the devices will work reliably in a real-world emergency, as a new study from McMaster University has found.
The study, which was funded by the federal government, found that some of the monitors in use at Toronto and Ottawa were able to detect a heart rate of over 150 beats per minute, but in the case of a patient who was under pressure, the readings were below that.
It is possible, though, that some people could have problems breathing or heart rate if the monitors are turned off, MacKay added.
The researchers said the issue was exacerbated when the monitors were turned off during a heart rhythm monitor test, which is used to detect when a person has had a heart or respiratory attack.
It was not clear whether any of the devices had worked when they were being used during a patient CPR, which would have also been monitored.
“These are devices that can’t be turned off and these are devices where they’re going to have a significant impact on how we monitor patients in our facilities,” MacLeod said.
MacKay is now testing the devices in an experimental group of patients to see how they work.
“I think the fact that we’ve got an emergency situation that has a real effect on our ability to be able to monitor a patient at the most critical time of the day is really concerning,” he said.
When he was a cardiac doctor in Toronto, MacLeod used the monitors to check for a stroke.
“And what happened in those tests, I didn’t know if I was seeing the symptoms or not, but I knew that I was not seeing the real symptoms,” he explained.
“So I had to do the CPR test again.
So I’m like, ‘Well, it looks like I’m not seeing anything.
Is there something I can do about that?’
So I went back to that patient and he was able to do CPR on his own and they were able get back into the ambulance and he’s now recovering.”
Dr. Stephen Brown, a professor of surgery at the University of Ottawa, said the device at Toronto is not perfect.
“You can’t really go back and use the device if the patient is breathing and they are not responding,” he told CBC News.
“If the heart is racing and it’s a stroke, you’re going back to monitoring that patient because you don’t know whether you can resuscitate that patient.”
However, if the monitor is working, the system is very easy to use, he added.
“They are very good monitors for people who have heart attacks or stroke and the people who don’t have heart problems or strokes.”
While the technology is not 100 per cent accurate, it is relatively cheap, said Brown, who has been using the devices at Pearson for the past two years.
“There are lots of things that you could do to improve the systems and improve the way that we do our monitoring.
It’s not going to be perfect but it’s not a problem,” he added, adding that the technology would not be in widespread use until the 2020s.
A pilot program in Canada The devices have been deployed in a pilot program at the two airports and in Ottawa’s airport in Ottawa, which MacLeod has been working with to make sure it is working well. MacLeod