Metrology in Medicine: From Measurements to Decision, with Specific Reference to Anesthesia and Intensive Care

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Abstract

Metrology is the science of measurements. Although of critical importance in medicine and especially in critical care, frequent confusion in terms and definitions impact either interphysician communications or understanding of manufacturers’ and engineers’ instructions and limitations when using devices. In this review, we first list the terms defined by the International Bureau of Weights and Measures regarding quantities and units, measurements, devices for measurement, properties of measuring devices, and measurement standards. The traditional tools for assessing the most important measurement quality criteria are also reviewed with clinical examples for diagnosis, alarm, and titration purposes, as well as for assessing the uncertainty of reference methods.

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