Title:
Display Of Historical Alarm Status
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This disclosure describes embodiments of alarm systems and methods for use in devices such as medical ventilators. Embodiments described provide for an apparatus of an interactive multilevel alarm system. Embodiments of the alarms also provide, at a glance, current alarm and device status information and historical alarm information to the operator. Embodiments also direct interaction with the alarming functions of the device by the operator. In some embodiments, additional visual indicators may be provided to identify non-normal or noteworthy operating conditions, such as the use of a therapeutic gas by a mechanical ventilator, so that the operator can assess the impact of that non-normal condition on any current and historical alarm information simultaneously provided.



Inventors:
Sanchez, Gabriel (Valley Center, CA, US)
Patel, Nirav (Carlsbad, CA, US)
Application Number:
12/760725
Publication Date:
06/09/2011
Filing Date:
04/15/2010
Assignee:
Nellcor Puritan Bennett LLC (Boulder, CO, US)
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
340/573.1
International Classes:
A61M16/00; G08B23/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
HEFFNER, NED T
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Covidien LP (ATTN: IP Legal 6135 Gunbarrel Avenue BOULDER CO 80301)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A method for indicating alarms on a medical device providing therapy to a patient, the method comprising: monitoring data associated with at least one physiologic parameter of the patient or operational characteristic of the medical device; determining, based on the data, a change in device status level to a current device status level; displaying, via a current status indicator in response to the determining operation, a first color or combination of color and behavior associated with the current device status level; and displaying, via a historical alarm indicator in response to the determining operation, one of a plurality of colors or combinations of color and behavior selected based on the current device status level and a previously-determined device status level, wherein the previously-determined device status level corresponds to the device status level displayed by the historical alarm indicator when the change in device status level is determined.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein displaying via the historical alarm indicator further comprises: determining that the current device status level is greater than the previously-determined device status level; and displaying the one of the plurality of colors or combinations of color and behavior associated with the current device status level.

3. The method of claim 1, wherein displaying via the historical alarm indicator further comprises: determining that the current device status level is less than the previously-determined device status level; and displaying the one of the plurality of colors or combinations of color and behavior associated with the previously-determined device status level.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the determining operation comprises: selecting, based on the data, one of a plurality of predetermined device status levels including a “no alarm” status and a “high-level alarm” status.

5. The method of claim 1, wherein the determining operation comprises: selecting, based on the data, one of a plurality of predetermined device status levels including, ranked from low to high, a “no alarm” status, a “low-level alarm” status, a “medium-level alarm” status and a “high-level alarm” status.

6. The method of claim 1, further comprising: emitting an audible alarm associated with the current device status level.

7. The method of claim 2, wherein the first color or combination of color and behavior associated with the current device status and the one of the plurality of colors or combinations of color and behavior displayed by the historical alarm indicator are different.

8. The method of claim 3, wherein the displaying operations further comprise: displaying the respective colors or combinations of color and behavior so that they are visible in a 360 degree arc around the medical device when viewed from a predetermined height.

9. A ventilation system adapted to provide respiratory therapy to a patient comprising: a gas delivery system; a processor that monitors data associated with at least one physiologic parameter of the patient or operational characteristic of the ventilation system and, based on the data, selects one of a predetermined set of ranked ventilator status levels as a current status level; a user interface including a display contained in a display housing; one or more indicators in the display housing visible in a 360 degree arc around the ventilation system when viewed from a predetermined height, the one or more indicators including: a current status indicator adapted to display a first one of a plurality of current status indications, each current status indication being a different color or combination of color and behavior and each current status indication associated with a different ventilator status level, wherein the first one corresponds to the current status indication associated with the current status level; and a secondary indicator adapted to display any of a plurality of historical status indications, each historical status indication being a different color or combination of color and behavior and each historical status indication associated with a different ventilator status level; wherein the secondary indicator displays one of a first historical status indication associated with the current status level or a second historical status indication associated with the highest ventilator status level selected by the processor after a predetermined event.

10. The ventilation system of claim 9, wherein the secondary indicator displays the first historical indication if the highest ventilator status level selected after a predetermined event is equal to or less than the current status level.

11. The ventilation system of claim 9, wherein the secondary indicator displays the second historical indication if the highest ventilator status level selected after a predetermined event is greater than the current status level.

12. The ventilation system of claim 9, wherein the current status indications and the historical status indications are different color or combination of color and behavior for at least one ventilator status level.

13. The ventilation system of claim 9, wherein the predetermined event is an operator reset of an alarm function on the ventilation system.

14. The ventilation system of claim 9, wherein the system indicates an audible alarm based on the ventilator status level indicated by both the current status level and the historical status level.

15. An alarm system for a medical device adapted to provide therapy to a patient comprising: a processor communicably coupled to a computer readable medium, wherein the processor monitors data associated with at least one physiologic parameter of the patient or operational characteristic of the alarm system and, based on the data, selects one of a predetermined set of ranked alarm levels as a current status level; one or more indicators visible in a 360 degree arc around the alarm system when viewed from a predetermined height, the one or more indicators including: a current status indicator adapted to display a first one of a plurality of current status indications, each current status indication being a different color or combination of color and behavior and each current status indication associated with a different alarm level, wherein the first one corresponds to the current status indication associated with the current status level; and a secondary indicator adapted to display any of a plurality of historical status indications, each historical status indication being a different color or combination of color and behavior and each historical status indication associated with a different alarm level; wherein the secondary indicator displays one of a first historical status indication associated with the current status level or a second historical status indication associated with the highest alarm level selected by the processor after a predetermined event.

16. The alarm system of claim 15, wherein the secondary indicator displays the first historical indication if the highest alarm level selected after a predetermined event is equal to or less than the current status level.

17. The alarm system of claim 15, wherein the secondary indicator displays the second historical indication if the highest alarm level selected after a predetermined event is greater than the current status level.

18. The alarm system of claim 15, wherein the current status indications and the historical status indications are different color or combination of color and behavior for at least one alarm level.

19. The alarm system of claim 15, wherein the predetermined event is an operator reset of an alarm function on the alarm system.

20. The alarm system of claim 15, wherein the alarm system indicates an audible alarm based on the alarm level indicated by both the current status level and the historical status level.

Description:

RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims the benefit of U.S. Provisional Application No. 61/266,692, filed Dec. 4, 2009, which application is hereby incorporated by reference. This application also is related to co-owned application Ser. No. ______ entitled Interactive Multilevel Alarm, and application Ser. No. ______ entitled Alarm Indication System, all filed ______, the entire disclosures of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference.

INTRODUCTION

A ventilator is a device that mechanically helps patients breathe by replacing some or all of the muscular effort required to inflate and deflate the lungs. Ventilators also achieve a regulatory function during the ventilation process. A ventilator measures numerous physiological and operational parameters, including but not limited to exotic gas utilization, peak inspiratory pressure, battery failure and filter replacement. Depending on the status of the different parameters, it may be necessary for the ventilator to generate an alarm to indicate to the operator that attention is required.

Apparatus for Display of Historical Alarm Status

This disclosure describes embodiments of alarm systems and methods for use in devices such as medical ventilators. Embodiments described below provide for an apparatus of an interactive multilevel alarm system. Embodiments of the alarms also provide, at a glance, current alarm and device status information and historical alarm information to the operator. Embodiments also detect interaction with the alarm indicator by the operator. In some embodiments, additional visual indicators may be provided to identify non-normal or noteworthy operating conditions, such as the use of a therapeutic gas by a mechanical ventilator, so that the operator can assess the impact of that non-normal condition on the current and historical alarm information simultaneously provided.

In one aspect, the disclosure describes a method for indicating alarms on a medical device. The method includes monitoring data for changes in the current device status level. When a change is detected, the method indicates the current device status level at a current status indicator by displaying a first color or combination of color. The method also indicates a historical alarm status at a historical alarm indicator by displaying one of a plurality of colors or combinations of color and behavior. The displayed color corresponds to either the current device status level or a previously-determined device status level.

The disclosure also describes a ventilation system for providing respiratory therapy to a patient. The ventilation system includes a pressure delivery system, a processor, a user interface, and one or more indicators in the display housing. The processor monitors data associated with at least one physiologic parameter of a patent or an operational characteristic of the ventilation system. The processor also selects, from a set of predetermined ranked status levels, a ventilator status level as a current status level. The user interface includes a display contained in display housing. The one or more indicators are visible in a 360 degree arc around the ventilation system when viewed from a predetermined height. The one or more indicators include a current status indicator and a secondary indicator. The current status indicator is adapted to display a current status indication by displaying a color or combination of color and behavior associated with a ventilator status level. The secondary indicator is adapted to display a historical status indication by displaying a color or combination of color and behavior associated with a ventilator status level. The historical status indication is associated with either the current status level or the highest ventilator status level selected after a predetermined event.

The disclosure also describes an alarm system for a medical device adapted to provide therapy to a patient. The medical device is comprised of a processor that is communicably coupled to a computer readable medium and monitors data associated with physiologic parameters of the patient and operational characteristics of the alarm system. The processor also selects one of a predetermined set of ranked alarm levels as a current status level based on the monitored data. The medical device is also comprised one or more indicators visible in a 360 degree arc around the alarm system when viewed from a predetermined height. The one or more indicators include a current status indicator and a secondary indicator. The current status indicator is adapted to display a current status indication by displaying a color or combination of color and behavior associated with a ventilator status level. The secondary indicator is adapted to display a historical status indication by displaying a color or combination of color and behavior associated with a ventilator status level. The historical status indication is associated with either the current status level or the highest ventilator status level selected after a predetermined event.

These and various other features as well as advantages will be apparent from a reading of the following detailed description and a review of the associated drawings. Additional features are set forth in the description that follows and, in part, will be apparent from the description, or may be learned by practice of the described embodiments. The benefits and features will be realized and attained by the structure particularly pointed out in the written description and claims hereof as well as the appended drawings.

It is to be understood that both the foregoing general description and the following detailed description are exemplary and explanatory and are intended to provide further explanation of the claimed invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The following drawing figures, which form a part of this application, are illustrative of described technology and are not meant to limit the scope of the invention as claimed in any manner, which scope shall be based on the claims appended hereto.

FIG. 1 depicts a ventilator used during mechanical ventilation of a patient.

FIGS. 2-6 provide different views of a ventilator having a display and built into the top of the display housing a three indicator visual alarm system comprising a lower, exotic gas indicator, a second indicator consisting of a first and a second secondary indicator and a current status indicator.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the display showing the indicators.

FIG. 3 is an oblique front view of the display showing the indicators.

FIG. 4 is a side view of the display showing the indicators.

FIG. 5 is an oblique rear view of the display showing the indicators.

FIG. 6 is a rear view of the display showing the indicators.

FIG. 7 depicts different ventilation urgency levels communicated by different colors of light or combinations of light and behavior displayed by the indicators. The illustrations are top views of only the current status and secondary indicators showing the different color schemes for an embodiment of operation. One side view is also shown.

FIG. 8 depicts different visual combinations of the different indicators of the interactive multilevel alarm system from a top view.

FIG. 9 depicts a method of escalation or de-escalation in current indicator status.

FIG. 10 depicts a method of indicating a highest historical ventilator system status at a secondary indicator.

FIG. 11 depicts a method for providing interactivity with the multilevel alarm system of the ventilator by making one or more of the indicators an interactive element.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Although the techniques introduced above and discussed in detail below may be implemented for a variety of devices, the present disclosure will discuss the implementation of these techniques for use in a mechanical ventilator system for use in providing ventilation support to a human patient. The reader will understand that the technology described in the context of a medical ventilator for human patients could be adapted for use with other systems such as ventilators for non-human patients, different types of medical devices and any devices that can generate multiple alarms or operate in one or more of multiple different states.

Medical ventilators monitor the delivery of breathing gas to the patient, may directly or indirectly monitor physiological parameters of the patient, and monitor the operation of the ventilator. For the purposes of this discussion, the ventilator will be referred to as including an interactive multilevel alarm system as a way of collectively talking about those elements in the control systems of the ventilator that generate alarms based on the various parameters monitored by the ventilator. The interactive multilevel alarm system includes a visible alarm display system and may include an audible alarm generating system. The visible alarm display system refers to those components (e.g. visible indicators) other than the graphical user interface of the ventilator that provide visible indications of alarms and ventilator status information to the operator. Likewise, the audible alarm system refers to those components (e.g. speakers and sound generators) responsible for generating audible alarms.

The interactive multilevel alarm system indicates the current status level of the ventilator at a current status indicator. The current status indicator may be located on the ventilator such that the operator may be able to see the current status indicator from any side or angle. Depending on the settings provided, selected therapy and other conditions, a ventilator may be designed to generate some number of alarms of different magnitudes based on the current status level. Alarms of different magnitudes may be grouped into arbitrary “levels” dictated by the urgency or level of response deemed necessary by operators or by some characteristic. For example, in the embodiments described in this disclosure, at any given time while providing therapy to a patient a ventilator may be in one of four different current conditions.

    • A “no current alarm” or normal operation status level;
    • A low-level alarm condition;
    • A medium-level alarm condition;
    • A high-level alarm condition.

Different current status levels displayed at the current status indicator indicate to the operator that a different response is needed and different visual and audible alarms may be associated with each status level. For example, a low-level alarm may require no immediate attention but is provided for informational purposes only. A medium-level alarm may indicate that the operator should evaluate the conditions that caused the alarm in order to determine if an action is necessary. A high-level alarm condition may indicate a life-threatening or other emergency that requires immediate attention.

For example, a low-level alarm may be generated when a measured parameter, such as peak inspiratory pressure observed in a patient during breathing, exceeds a threshold amount (an example of patient physiological parameter being outside the targeted range); when a battery has failed, a condensate collection cup is full or a filter needs replacing (an example of an alarm being generated based on an operational condition.) Similarly, the low level alarm may be “escalated” to a medium level alarm if the measured parameter is observed to be in excess of the threshold for a predetermined period of time. If the patient's total exhaled tidal volume was to drop below the set point or the ventilator determines that the patient has become disconnected from the ventilator, a high-level alarm may be initiated. Escalation will be discussed further herein.

FIG. 1 illustrates an embodiment of a ventilator 100 connected to a human patient 150. Ventilator 100 includes a pneumatic system 102 (also referred to as a pressure generating system 102) for circulating breathing gases to and from patient 150 via the ventilation tubing system 130, which couples the patient to the pneumatic system via an invasive patient interface 152.

Ventilation may be achieved by invasive or non-invasive means. Invasive ventilation, such as invasive patient interface 152, utilizes a breathing tube, particularly an endotracheal tube (ET tube) or a tracheostomy tube (trach tube), inserted into the patient's trachea in order to deliver air to the lungs. Non-invasive ventilation may utilize a mask or other device placed over the patient's nose and mouth. For the purposes of this disclosure, an invasive patient interface 152 is shown and described, although the reader will understand that the technology described herein is equally applicable to any invasive or non-invasive patient interface.

Airflow is provided via ventilation tubing circuit 130 and invasive patient interface 152. Ventilation tubing circuit 130 may be a dual-limb (shown) or a single-limb circuit for carrying gas to and from the patient 150. In a dual-limb embodiment as shown, a “wye fitting” 170 may be provided to couple the patient interface 154 to an inspiratory limb 132 and an expiratory limb 134 of the ventilation tubing circuit 130.

Pneumatic system 102 may be configured in a variety of ways. In the present example, system 102 includes an expiratory module 110 coupled with the expiratory limb 134 and an inspiratory module 104 coupled with the inspiratory limb 132. Compressor 106 or another source(s) of pressurized gases (e.g., air, oxygen, and/or helium) is coupled with inspiratory module 104 to provide a gas source for ventilatory support via inspiratory limb 132.

The pneumatic system may include a variety of other components, including sources for pressurized air and/or oxygen, mixing modules, valves, sensors, tubing, accumulators, filters, etc. Controller 112 is operatively coupled with pneumatic system 102, signal measurement and acquisition systems, and an operator interface 120 may be provided to enable an operator to interact with the ventilator 100 (e.g., change ventilator settings, select operational modes, view monitored parameters, etc.). Controller 110 may include memory 114, one or more processors 118, storage 116, and/or other components of the type commonly found in command and control computing devices.

The memory 112 is computer-readable storage media that stores software that is executed by the processor 116 and which controls the operation of the ventilator 100. In an embodiment, the memory 112 includes one or more solid-state storage devices such as flash memory chips. In an alternative embodiment, the memory 112 may be mass storage connected to the processor 116 through a mass storage controller (not shown) and a communications bus (not shown). Although the description of computer-readable media contained herein refers to a solid-state storage, it should be appreciated by those skilled in the art that computer-readable storage media can be any available media that can be accessed by the processor 116. Computer-readable storage media includes volatile and non-volatile, removable and non-removable media implemented in any method or technology for storage of information such as computer-readable instructions, data structures, program modules or other data. Computer-readable storage media includes, but is not limited to, RAM, ROM, EPROM, EEPROM, flash memory or other solid state memory technology, CD-ROM, DVD, or other optical storage, magnetic cassettes, magnetic tape, magnetic disk storage or other magnetic storage devices, or any other medium which can be used to store the desired information and which can be accessed by the computer.

The controller 110 issues commands to pneumatic system 102 in order to control the breathing assistance provided to the patient by the ventilator. The specific commands may be based on inputs received from patient 150, pneumatic system 102 and sensors, operator interface 118 and/or other components of the ventilator. In the depicted example, operator interface includes a display 120 that is touch-sensitive, enabling the display to serve both as an input and output device.

As depicted, the alarm system 122 is communicatively connected to the controller 110. The controller 110 of the ventilator can direct the alarm system 122 to generate alarms under predetermined circumstances. Different predetermined circumstances can cause the controller 110 to communicate different alarm levels to the alarm system 122. The different alarm levels communicated by the controller 110 cause the alarm system 122 to display different alarm statuses on alarm system indicators as described herein. The controller 110 also communicates to the alarm system 122 whether the ventilator is delivering an exotic gas to the patient. Delivery of an exotic gas is also displayed by the alarm system 122 on an alarm system indicator as described herein.

The alarm system 122 is also communicatively connected, either directly or indirectly, to the display 120. When the alarm system 122 detects an operator's input, the alarm system 122 causes the display 120 to display alarm conditions.

FIG. 2 illustrates an embodiment of a visible alarm display system 200. The visual alarm display system 200 includes alarm lights, referred to herein as indicators. The visible alarm display system includes a current status indicator 204, a secondary indicator, in this embodiment made up of a first secondary indicator 202 and a second secondary indicator 206, and an exotic gas indicator 208. The indicators may include one or more of any type including incandescent lights, light emitting diodes (LEDs), or other technology capable of creating visually perceptible light.

The general operation of the current status indicator 204 has already been discussed. The secondary indicator, which in the embodiment shown consists of two non-contiguous zones 202 and 206, indicates the highest historical alarm level. The highest historical alarm level reflects the highest current status level reached since the alarm was last reset. Thus, an operator viewing the secondary indicator 202 and 206 will instantly know if the ventilator has in the past been in an alarm state regardless of its current status. Depending on the embodiment, the secondary indicator 202 and 206 may indicate only the existence of a historical alarm state higher than the current status of the ventilator. In other words, the secondary indicator 202 and 206 will display the current status level if the current status level is equal to or higher than the highest historical status level. The secondary indicator 202 and 206 may also be referred to as a “latched indicator” to allude to its function as latching to the highest alarm level seen by the ventilator since the last time the alarm system was reset by the operator or the ventilator was powered up.

The secondary indicator 202 and 206 in the illustrated embodiment highlights that in the three indicator alarm described herein, any of the indicators (i.e., the current status indicator, the secondary alarm indicator and the exotic gas indicator) may consist of separate individual indicators or zones that act together so that at least one zone of each indicator is visible from all angles. When discussing embodiments in which an indicator (i.e., the current status indicator, the secondary alarm indicator and the exotic gas indicator) has multiple, non-contiguous zones, the different zones will be referred to as a “first” indicator and “second” indicator of that particular type (e.g., the first current status indicator and second current status indicator), although the reader will understand that the first and second indicators may also be referred to collective as a single indicator (e.g., the current status indicator may consist of a first and second current status indicator).

In the embodiment shown, for instance, the visual display system includes a first secondary indicator 202 and a second secondary indicator zone 206. The first secondary indicator 202 and the second secondary indicator 206 flank either side of the current status indicator 204. In an embodiment, the current status indicator 204 and secondary indicator 202 and 206 are located on the ventilator such that, when viewed from predetermined heights such as heights above 4 feet above the floor on which the ventilator is standing, at least one secondary indicator is visible from any direction in a 360 degree arc around the ventilator. That is, regardless of the relative angle of the operator to the ventilator (e.g., facing the ventilator from the front, back, sides, etc.) at least one of the two secondary indicators will be in view.

In the embodiments shown herein, this is achieved by placing the indicators, with the current status indicator 204 above and the secondary indicator below 202 and 206, on top of the highest point of the ventilator. Other configurations are also possible including providing multiple indicators at multiple locations around the housing of the ventilator or providing indicators in the form of bands running around the exterior of the ventilator at different heights.

In one embodiment, the current status indicator 204 and the secondary indicators 202 and 206 are touch sensitive. Detection of an operator's touch to either indicator is considered acknowledgement by a user to address the alarm condition. In an embodiment, such an acknowledgement may cause the alarm system to lower the volume, display specific windows or information on the display or cease the emission of an audible alarm associated with the current ventilator status level.

The interactive element may be able to differentiate between different types of inputs from the operator, such as differentiating between a tap, a touch starting from the left and going to the right and a touch starting from the right and going to the left. Depending on what type of input is received, the audible alarm may be modified in different ways. For example, a tap may silence the alarm, a longer touch may pull up a particular window on the display related to the alarm and a left-to-right or right-to-left touch may make the alarm louder or quieter.

Different interactive elements may be provided for the audible alarm control and for the visual alarm control. For example, touching the current status indicator 204 may control the audible alarm and touching the secondary indicator 202 and 206 may clear the historical status level so that the historical status level is reset to the current status level. In yet another embodiment, the operator could bring up a control panel/cause the ventilator to display a graphical user interface associated with the alarm condition by touching the current status indicator 204 or secondary indicator 202 and 206.

The interactive element may use any suitable technology or device in order to detect the operator command. For example, in an embodiment an indicator may incorporate a mechanical push switch so that the indicator can be depressed by the operator's finger. Alternatively, a touch-sensitive technology such as resistive, capacitive, acoustic pulse recognition or any other technology, now known or later developed, for detecting a user input. In an embodiment the entire display housing including the visual indicators could be covered by a material, such as a glass or polymer to create a unitary, smooth exterior surface into which different interactive elements are located in different areas of the cover material. Thus, different areas of the housing surface including the surface of the visual indicators could be used as interface elements.

In yet another embodiment, additional interactive elements may be provided at various locations on the ventilator for interacting with the alarm system and controlling the audio and visual alarms. For example, when an audible alarm is active an interactive element for controlling volume may appear or be illuminated so that the operator is alerted to the location of the element. As another example, the current status indicator 204 could be one interactive element that silences the audible alarm and another interactive element could be located somewhere else on the ventilator to control the volume of the audible alarm, such as on the main ventilator display.

The visible alarm display system may also include an exotic gas indicator 208. In an embodiment, the exotic gas indicator 208 can be viewed from any position around the ventilator. For example, in one embodiment, each of the three indicators (current status, secondary and exotic gas) are stacked, one on top of the other, and placed on top of the highest component of the ventilator. The exotic gas indicator 208 may be off until such time as an exotic gas is in use. In an embodiment, the exotic gas indicator 208 may use a different color or color/behavior combination for each different exotic gas so that the operators know which gas is in use. Alternatively, a single color may be used in which the gas in use cannot be determined from the indicator. Likewise, the exotic gas indicator 208 may be adapted to also indicate specific ranges of oxygen concentrations, for example lighting when a gas mix setting such as oxygen drops below or exceeds an operator set limit. Such an indication could be used to note a change in the patient's status. In another embodiment, the exotic gas indicator can display different colors to indicate different exotic gasses used during ventilation.

An interactive element may also be incorporated into the exotic gas indicator 208. In an embodiment, for example, an operator could disable the delivery of the exotic gas by touching the exotic gas indicator 208. Alternatively, the operator could bring up a control panel/cause the ventilator to display a graphical user interface associated with and/or controlling the exotic gas delivery by touching the exotic gas indicator 208. Such an interactive element may or may not be disabled when there is no exotic gas being delivered.

FIG. 3 depicts the visual alarm display system 300 from an oblique view. As can be seen, the current status indicator 304, first secondary indicatory 302, second secondary indicator 306, and exotic gas indicator 308 are all visible from the side angle.

FIG. 4 depicts the visual alarm display system 400 from a side view. As can be seen, the current status indicator 402, second secondary indicator 404, and exotic gas indicator 406 are all visible from the side.

FIG. 5 depicts the visual alarm display system 500 from an oblique rear view. As can be seen, the current status indicator 504, first secondary indicator 506, second secondary indicator 502, and exotic gas indicator 508 are all visible from the back angle.

FIG. 6 depicts the visual alarm display system from 600 a rear view. As can be seen, the current status indicator 604, first secondary indicator 606, second secondary indicator 602, and exotic gas indicator 608 are all visible from the back.

FIG. 7 depicts different ventilation urgency levels communicated by different colors of light displayed by the indicators. In one embodiment, any of the indicators are able to emit different colors of light for different urgency levels. Indicators may also be able to flash or strobe in order to attract more attention under certain circumstances. The following table describes an embodiment of the indicators' different colors and behavior during different status levels and de-escalation scenarios.

Ventilator's CurrentCurrent Status
StatusIndicatorSecondary Indicator
Normal StatusGreenColor indicative of highest
historical alarm status (i.e.,
yellow, flashing yellow or
red); off or green if highest
historical status is normal.
Low-level alarmYellowYellow or highest historical
alarm status if higher than
low-level alarm.
Medium-level alarmFlashing YellowYellow or Red if highest
historical alarm status is
high-level alarm.
High-level AlarmFlashing RedRed or Flashing Red

The following table describes another embodiment of the indicators' different colors and behavior during different status levels and de-escalation scenarios.

Ventilator's CurrentCurrent Status
StatusIndicatorSecondary Indicator
Normal StatusGreenColor indicative of highest
historical alarm status (i.e.,
yellow, flashing yellow or
red); off if highest historical
status is normal.
Low-level alarmYellowColor indicative of highest
historical alarm status (i.e.,
yellow or red); off if highest
historical status is normal.
Medium-level alarmFlashing YellowColor indicative of highest
historical alarm status (i.e.,
yellow or red); off if highest
historical status is normal.
High-level AlarmFlashing RedFlashing Red

A series of exemplary multilevel alarm scenarios are depicted in FIG. 7. Alarm scenario 700 depicts an alarm with a current status of normal, as indicated by the green current status indicator. The secondary status indicator of alarm scenario 700 does not display any color. This indicates that alarm scenario 700 has no historical status. The latched status of alarm scenario 700 is that no alarm has been activated since the alarm was last reset.

Alarm scenario 702 depicts an alarm with a current status of low or medium, as indicated by the yellow current status indicator. The secondary status indicator of alarm scenario 702 does not display any color. This indicates that alarm scenario 702 has no historical status. The latched status of alarm scenario 702 is that no alarm has been activated since the alarm was last reset.

Alarm scenario 704 depicts an alarm with a current status of high, as indicated by the red current status indicator. The secondary status indicator of alarm scenario 704 also displays red. This indicates that alarm scenario 704 has a current status equal to the highest historical status. The latched status of alarm scenario 704 is not applicable because the current status of the alarm scenario is the same as the highest historical status.

Alarm scenario 706 depicts an alarm with a current status of normal, as indicated by the green current status indicator. The secondary status indicator of alarm scenario 706 displays yellow. This indicates that alarm scenario 706 has a highest historical status of low or medium. The latched status of alarm scenario 706 is that the alarm scenario has displayed a low or medium alarm status since the alarm was last reset. FIG. 7 also depicts a side view of alarm scenario 706. As can be seen, both the current status indicator and the secondary status indicator are visible from the side of the alarm system, with the current status indicator located on top of the secondary indicator.

Alarm scenario 708 depicts an alarm with a current status of normal, as indicated by the green current status indicator. The secondary status indicator of alarm scenario 708 displays red. This indicates that alarm scenario 708 has a highest historical status of high. The latched status of alarm scenario 708 is that the alarm scenario has displayed a high alarm status since the alarm was last reset.

FIG. 8 depicts different visual combinations of the different indicators of interactive multilevel alarm system from a top view. Combination 800 depicts an elliptical current status indicator 802 surrounded by an elliptical secondary indicator 806. The secondary indicator 806 is surrounded by an elliptical exotic gas indicator 804.

Combination 808 depicts an elongated elliptical current status indicator 812. The current status indicator is flanked by a first secondary indicator 814 and a second secondary indicator 816. The current status indicator 812, first secondary indicator 814, and second secondary indicator 816 are surrounded by an elliptical exotic gas indicator 810. In this embodiment, the first and second secondary indicators 814, 816 operate in unison and can be considered single embodiment of a secondary indicator that can be viewed from all angles.

Combination 818 depicts a visual alarm that does not include an exotic gas indicator. The current status indicator 820 separates the first secondary indicator 822 from the second secondary indicator 824. As depicted, the ends of the current status indicator 822 are wider than the mid section of the current status indicator 822.

Combination 826 also depicts a visual alarm display that does not include an exotic gas indicator. The current status indicator 820 separates the first secondary indicator 822 from the second secondary indicator 824.

FIG. 9 depicts a method 900 of escalating or de-escalating the alarm level associated with the current ventilator status. At indicating operation 902, the interactive multilevel alarm system indicates a current ventilator status by displaying a first color at a current status indicator. The multilevel alarm system can also indicate a current ventilator status by displaying a first combination of color and behavior at a current status indicator. In one embodiment, the current ventilator status is an alarm level. The different alarm levels can indicate to an operator that a different response is needed. Exemplary alarm levels include: a “no current alarm” or normal operation status level, a low-level alarm condition, a medium-level alarm condition, and a high level alarm condition. Each of the exemplary alarm levels can be associated with a different color or different combination of color and behavior as discussed above.

At detecting operation 904, the multilevel alarm system detects a change in current ventilator status. The change in current ventilator status can be either an escalation or de-escalation. An escalation occurs when the alarm level associated with the current ventilator status increases. For example, current ventilator status escalates when the alarm level increases from low to medium. A de-escalation occurs when the alarm level associated with the current ventilator status decreases in alarm level. For example, current ventilator status de-escalates when the alarm level decreases from medium to low.

At indicating operation 906, the multilevel alarm system indicates a new current ventilator status at the current status indicator by displaying a second color. The multilevel alarm system can also indicate a new current ventilator status by displaying a second combination of color and behavior at the current status indicator. The second color or second color and behavior combination is associated with the escalated alarm level or the de-escalated alarm level. As will be discussed in greater detail below, if there is an escalation, the secondary indicator will be changed if the new status is greater than what is currently displayed by the secondary indicator and, if there is a de-escalation, there will be no change in the status of the secondary indicator.

FIG. 10 depicts a method 1000 of indicating a highest historical ventilator system status at a secondary indicator. At turn on operation 1002, the ventilator is turned on. Turning on can be accomplished by plugging the ventilator in, depressing an “on” switch, awaking the ventilator from sleep mode, or any other known method for turning on a machine.

At display operation 1004 the alarm system indicates an initial “no alarm” status at both indicators. A “no alarm” is displayed because the ventilator is yet to communicate a predetermined alarm condition to the alarm system that would cause the alarm system to display an alarm. The “no alarm” status is indicated on both the current status indicator and secondary indicator. The current status indicator and secondary indicator indicate a “no alarm” status by displaying a color or combination of color and behavior at the current status indicator and secondary indicator. As discussed with reference to FIG. 9, the color or combination of color and behavior is associated with an alarm level indicating the patient's “no-alarm” ventilatory status.

At monitor operation 1006, the multilevel alarm system monitors the ventilatory status of the patient. As discussed above, the alarm system is communicatively coupled to the controller. The alarm system monitors the ventilatory status of the patient by communicating with the controller and waiting for a change in status.

At change operation 1008, the multilevel alarm system awaits a change in current ventilatory status of the patient. As discussed above, this change is detected from communication with the controller during the monitoring operation 1006. As discussed with reference to FIG. 9, the change in ventilator status can be an escalation or de-escalation in alarm level. If a change in current status is not detected, the method 1000 returns to monitor operation 1006. If a change in current status is detected, the method 1000 advances to change current status operation 1010.

At change current status operation 1010, the alarm status displayed by the current status indicator is changed to indicate a new current status. A new current status is indicated by displaying a new color or new combination of color and behavior at the current status indicator. As discussed with reference to FIG. 9, the new current status color or new current status combination of color and behavior is associated with the escalated alarm level or the de-escalated alarm level.

At compare operation 1012, the new current status is compared to the last highest current status. The multilevel alarm system compares the new current status to the last highest current status to determine whether the new current status is greater than or equal to the last highest current status. The new current ventilator status is greater than or equal to the last highest current status if the alarm level of the new current ventilator status is greater than or equal to the alarm level of the last highest current status. For example, if the new current ventilator status is “medium” and the last highest current status was “medium”, “low”, or “normal”, then the new current status is greater than or equal to the last highest current status. On the other hand, if the new current status is “medium” and the last highest current status was “high”, then the current status is less than the last highest current status.

If, at compare operation 1012, the multilevel alarm system determines that the new current status is less than the last current status, the secondary alarm level is maintained. This is because under this process flow, the secondary alarm level will only be maintained when the current alarm level is less than a previous alarm level or levels. The method 1000 then returns monitor operation 1006.

If at compare operation 1012, the multilevel alarm system determines that the new current status is greater than or equal to the last highest current status, an upgrade secondary alarm operation 1014 is performed. In operation 1014, the multilevel alarm system displays the new current status color or the new current status combination of color and behavior at the secondary indicator to indicate the highest historical ventilator system status. Since the multilevel alarm system has not activated an alarm greater than the current status level, the secondary indicator displays the same color or the same combination of color and behavior as the current status indicator.

FIG. 11 depicts a method 1100 for providing interactivity with the interactive multilevel alarm system of the ventilator when the alarm is in an alarm state. At provide operation 1102, the alarm system provides a first and second interactive indicator. In one embodiment, the first and second interactive indicators are visible in a 360 degree arc when viewed from a predetermined height. As discussed previously, the first interactive may be a current status indicator and the second interactive indicator may be a secondary indicator. The first and second interactive indicators can further be comprised of multiple zones.

At generate operation 1104, the alarm system generates an alarm indication associated with the alarm state via the first interactive indicator. As discussed above, the alarm condition may be a visual indicator associated with the alarm state. For example, and alarm state of “high” is associated with a red visual indicator. In this embodiment, the first interactive indicator would display a red light. In another embodiment, the alarm indication is an audible alarm associated with an alarm state. In another embodiment, the alarm indication includes a combination of audible and visual alarms.

At detect operation 1106, the alarm system detects an operator's input at one of the first and second interactive indicators. In one embodiment, one or more of the indicators are touch sensitive and the alarm system detects an operator's touch. In another embodiment, the indicator may be a simple push switch that can be depressed by an operator's finger. In another embodiment, the operator's input is detected at a different indicator than the indicator generating the alarm indication.

At determine operation 1108, the alarm system determines a type of input corresponding to the operator's input. In one embodiment, the type of input might be a tap. In another embodiment, the type of input might be a touch starting from the left and going to the right. In another embodiment, the type of input might be a touch starting from the right and going to the left.

At modify 1110, the alarm system modifies the indicator alarm based on the determined type of input and the interactive indicator at which the operator's input was detected. In one embodiment, if the alarm system determines that the type of input is a tap on the current status indicator, the alarm system may adjust the audible alarm. In another embodiment, if the alarm system determines that the type of input is a tap on the secondary indicator, the alarm system may clear the historical status level so that the historical status level is rest to the current status level. In an alternative embodiment, the interaction with the alarm indicators may not affect the indicator's condition, but rather may change the audible alarm or perform some other function. In another embodiment, if the alarm system determines that the input was received at a first indicator, it may modify the alarm indication at both the first and second indicators. In another embodiment, if the alarm system determines that the input was received at the second indicator, it may only modify the alarm condition at the second indicator.

In yet another embodiment, the operator could bring up a control panel/cause the ventilator to display a graphical user interface associated with the alarm condition by touching the current status or secondary indicator. For example, touching the secondary indicator could bring up a historical log of alarms and identify which condition or occurrence resulted in the secondary indicator being escalated to its current alarm state. For example, if the secondary indicator is latched on a medium alarm, the operator could press the secondary indicator and be immediately presented with the alarm log showing the first (or every) medium alarm event that has occurred since the last alarm reset. In addition to the alarm log, other windows associated with an alarm may also be presented in response to an indicator touch. In an embodiment, if the alarm is associated with a specific setting on the ventilator, a window could also be displayed allowing the operator immediate access to the setting. Similarly, if the alarm is associated with a specific patient physiological parameter (e.g., minute volume, respiration rate, etc.), a window could be presented showing the historical data which caused the alarm.

It will be clear that the systems and methods described herein are well adapted to attain the ends and advantages mentioned as well as those inherent therein. Those skilled in the art will recognize that the methods and systems within this specification may be implemented in many manners and as such is not to be limited by the foregoing exemplified embodiments and examples. For example, the operations and steps of the embodiments of methods described herein may be combined or the sequence of the operations may be changed while still achieving the goals of the technology. In addition, specific functions and/or actions may also be allocated in such as a way as to be performed by a different module or method step without deviating from the overall disclosure. In other words, functional elements being performed by a single or multiple components, in various combinations of hardware and software, and individual functions can be distributed among software applications. In this regard, any number of the features of the different embodiments described herein may be combined into one single embodiment and alternate embodiments having fewer than or more than all of the features herein described are possible.

While various embodiments have been described for purposes of this disclosure, various changes and modifications may be made which are well within the scope of the present invention. Numerous other changes may be made which will readily suggest themselves to those skilled in the art and which are encompassed in the spirit of the disclosure and as defined in the appended claims.