What does the monitor offer?
This is a modern multi-parameter monitor that is nicely configured for veterinary use. The monitor will mostly be used in the operating room for monitoring under general anaesthetic but is also suitable for use for in-patient monitoring and outpatient blood pressure monitoring (for clinicians choosing an oscillometric technique).
The monitor is pretty much ready to use “out of the box” with a simple set up which was completed in a few minutes. However, there is the opportunity for the configuration of all the key functions and a separate calculating function.
Pleasingly, the box includes all the accessories for the key functions:
- Non-invasive (oscillometric) blood pressure (NIBP) including the typical patient cuffs for cats and dogs. The cuffs are standard types and easily replaced when necessary
- ECG leads for three-lead ECG (standard for anaesthetic monitoring) with push button attachments for atraumatic crocodile clips (which are supplied) or disposable self-adhesive pads (which can easily be sourced elsewhere)
- Body temperature monitoring (reusable probe supplied suitable for oesophageal or rectal use, for example). There is a port for a second temperature probe (which is not supplied, but readily available from J.A.K Marketing)
The unit I trialled was supplied with sidestream capnography (CO2) measurement. This uses a module that comes in the box and interfaces with the monitor, with semi-disposable filters (supplied and easily replaced), a sampling line (also easily replaced) and an ET tube adaptor for connection (spares and alternatives are widely available). Mainstream capnography is also available as an option through J.A.K. Pulse oximetry (SpO2) with standard connections and suitable probes for cats and dogs is also included.
Two outstanding features of this monitor are the touchscreen and voice assistant.
One option of the screen my team particularly liked was the choice of font size: large is ideal to let the surgeon glance at the readings across the room while the nurse is in control of anaesthesia. Touching any area of the screen displaying information immediately takes you to the menu associated with it, for example to adjust alarm limits or units displayed. Some functions are restricted by a password which is a nice safety feature although slightly annoying until you get used to it (I recommend you keep a record of the user password to hand).
One option of the screen my team particularly liked was the choice of font size: large is ideal to let the surgeon glance at the readings across the room while the nurse is in control of anaesthesia
You can easily swap the screen display to show trends rather than instantaneous readings, and equally easily get a printout of current readings from the built-in thermal printer. Through the screen you can configure the monitor in all manner of ways: we found little need to dig into things very deeply. But if you’d rather have respiratory rate reported from capnography than impedance change from the ECG (for example), it’s perfectly possible.
The voice assistant is a nice feature and a number of verbal inputs are preconfigured for you. The one we found useful was “Hello Biolight. Measure blood pressure” which triggers a cycle on the NIBP cuff. Other voice commands are available and you will decide which work best for your team.
The voice assistant is promoted as a way to reduce screen contamination, and I think it’s equally useful to keep your hands on the patient as much as possible
The voice assistant is promoted as a way to reduce screen contamination, and I think it’s equally useful to keep your hands on the patient as much as possible. We did not trigger any unexpected voice commands, but you can turn the voice command on or off as you wish.
Sidestream versus mainstream capnography
Sidestream capnography (which this trial monitor used) is the most popular option in patient monitoring as mainstream monitoring is more expensive in general. However, sidestream monitoring does have some disadvantages over mainstream, which advanced users will already know: slower response to change, a requirement to scavenge waste gas from the monitor, condensation in the sampling line and possibly greater circuit dead space. As long as the user understands these compromises, it is perfectly suitable for routine use.
Mainstream capnography might be preferred for some users: it avoids occasional problems with condensation in the sampling line and reduces lag time in sampling, which is particularly useful in very small patients and when using capnography as an aid to intubation. J.A.K can easily supply this as an alternative (or it can be added later).
The monitor does incorporate a clinical calculations function. My feeling was that this is not particularly useful. For example, you can input thermodilution data from another machine to predict cardiac output. This is rarely done in veterinary medicine and when it is, I suspect the calculation is done on another device anyway. However, advanced users might find ways to use the clinical calculator in their own workflow.
The Biolight S12 is a nice multi-parameter monitor with a small footprint. It has a great display that suits the veterinary environment – particularly the large font option so the surgeon can see it across the room. It is supplied with vet-specific accessories, ready to go straight out of the box.
It is very configurable, often beyond the needs of most users, but hidden in a way that does not interfere with basic users. For instance, the voice assistant will be very popular in some clinics, which is not just a gimmick. The in-built clinical calculator will appeal to a select few. Ultimately, the nurse I lent the demo machine to was reluctant to give it back!