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Monitoring & Physical principles

The Primary () and Final () FRCA examinations require an extensive knowledge of patient monitoring. We have therefore written a new educational resource section on this subject. The tutorials have been tailored to the FRCA syllabus and we have also added some past questions relevant to these topics.

 Primary FRCA Syllabus

 Physics and clinical measurement

  Pulse oximetry. Measurement of pressure. Direct and indirect methods of blood pressure measurement.
Amplification of biological potentials: ECG. Capnography. Principles of pressure transducers. Resonance and damping, frequency response.

Q. Primary Viva Question

Regarding Pulse oximetry; how does it work? Is it fast or slow? What are its problems?

You are shown graph of light absorption of Hb and HbO2. Please comment on it.

What is the Finapres? How does it work?

 Final FRCA Syllabus 

Clinical Measurement

 The Final examination assumes knowledge of the Primary FRCA examination syllabus, with the addition of more sophisticated measurements. There is an emphasis on clinical applications of clinical measurement, such as indications, practical techniques and interpretation of acquired data. Candidates will be expected to understand the sources of error and the limitations of individual measurements

Q. Final SAQ Question

Describe the principles involved in pulse oximetry. What are its limitations in clinical practice?

Tutorials on physical principles

Symbols for the Primary FRCA
History of pulse oximetry
Principles of pulse oximetry
Sources of error in pulse oximetry
Non-invasive measurement of blood pressure (NIBP)
Direct measurement of blood pressure and Allen's test
The invasive arterial system and Wheatstone bridge
Sources of error (damping and resonance)
Information that can be determined from the arterial waveform
The electrocardiogram (ECG)
Anaesthesia monitoring techniques
Common errors in clinical measurement
Measurement of pO2, pCO2, pH, pulse oximetry and capnography
Biphasic defibrillators
Biphasic waveforms
Classification of electrical equipment



- Fundamentals of Anaesthesia

Related links

- Common errors in Clinical Measurement
- Measurement of pO2, pCO2, pH, pulse oximetry and capnography
- Physics of gases
- Physical principles of defibrillators
- Anaesthesia monitoring techniques


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