Archive December 2003 IV, No. 12

What I Saw at ASA

Dr. Alan Marco takes you on an aisle-by-aisle tour of the expansive exhibit hall at the American Society of Anesthesiologists Annual Meeting in San Francisco.

Alan Marco, MD, MMM, FACPE


Over the course of two days at the recent American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) Annual Meeting in San Francisco, I went on an aisle-by-aisle and booth-by-booth tour of the expansive exhibit hall in search of equipment and devices that were new, neat and noteworthy. As you'll see, many of the products I'll review are designed to help us accelerate and validate our clinical decision-making.

Critical Data Viewer
How's this for an advance in ambulatory anesthesia? A sleek head-mounted display projects vital signs before your eyes through a device attached to your glasses. MicroOptical Corp.'s Critical Data Viewer lets you keep your eye on the patient while viewing vital signs, reducing your need to turn away for critical information, thus enhancing focus on the patient and the procedure. The near-eye display, which the company says is the world's smallest and lightest, comes mounted to a pair of safety glasses. You can easily attach the product's small LCD projector to the side of a normal pair of glasses with a little arm that extends over one of the lenses. Simply hook the standard video cable to your monitor's video out port, and the display shows the vital signs you would normally see on a patient monitor.

Pending FDA approval, Philips Medical will distribute the Critical Data Viewer, which will cost about $2,500. A wireless version (about $3,500) is due late next year. The viewer places the floating image on the hand-eye axis and offers a natural vision field in both eyes. The image is beamed on one eye so you can see what's in front of you. You can adjust the image to appear above or below your line of sight.

The display is remarkably unobtrusive. The left lens of the pair I tried on was partially blacked out, and vital signs floated on the upper half of my right lens so I could look down through my glasses.

I'm excited about the wireless version, which would let you, for example, call the lab for results or handle a call from the PACU without losing sight of the patient's vital signs. I'd like to play with one for a month to be sure, but this product's promise to integrate your monitor and anesthesia machine to view information in one pane of glass has lots of potential.

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