The use and uptake of pupillometers in the Intensive Care Unit

Matthew Hao Lee, Biswadev Mitra, Jiun Kae Pui, Mark Fitzgerald

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a significant public health issue. Assessing pupil reactivity is a crucial aspect of its management and the pupillometer has been shown to be a more objective tool compared to the standard penlight. Its use, however, is not widespread. Objective: To investigate the paucity in uptake, we examined the frequency of use of pupillometers (NeurOptics®NPi-100™) amongst Intensive Care Unit (ICU) doctors and nurses, evaluated its user-friendliness and explored barriers to its use. Design: An online cross-sectional survey. Methods: Surveys were distributed five months after the introduction of pupillometers (in May 2015) to ICU doctors and nurses working in a quaternary referral centre providing state services for trauma. The survey included sections on: questions on demographics and experience, methods of conventional pupillary assessment in patients with TBI, experience of using the pupillometer, and questions on barriers to its use. Responses were collated as discrete variables and summarised using counts and proportions. Comparisons among proportions were undertaken using the chi-squared test and reported with 95% confidence intervals. Results: A total of 79 responses were recorded, predominantly 94.9% (n = 75) from nursing staff. A total of 50 (63.3%) responders were using the pupillometers, with a mean frequency-of-use rating of 4.67 out of 10 and a mean user-friendliness rating of 6.28 out of 10. There was no association between frequency of use and user-friendliness (p = 0.36). The main identified barriers to its use included a lack of education with regards to its use, a perceived lack of clinical significance, a lack of standardisation of documenting findings, and difficulties with access to disposable patient shields (Smartguards). Conclusions: There was good adoption of the technology in the early phases of ICU implementation with user-friendliness rated favourably. In this paper we identify barriers to use and discuss possible solutions to increase clinical utility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-203
Number of pages5
JournalAustralian Critical Care
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Critical care
  • Critical care nursing
  • Intensive care units
  • Neurological Pupil index
  • Neurosurgery
  • Pupil
  • Pupillometer
  • Traumatic brain injury

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