Neuromuscular block monitoring by smartphone application (i-TOF © system): an observational pilot study

NPJ Digit Med. 2020 Oct 20;3:137. doi: 10.1038/s41746-020-00344-w. eCollection 2020.


Neuromuscular block monitoring is recommended by international guidelines to improve myorelaxation during surgery and reduce the risk of postoperative residual curarization. We conducted a pilot study to verify the efficacy of i-TOF, a wireless neuromuscular monitoring device connectable to a smartphone, comparing it with TOF WATCH SX. We enrolled 53 patients who underwent general anesthesia. For each patient, we recorded by both devices, in different time intervals, train-of-four (TOF) count/ratio after induction to general anesthesia (TI0-TI3) and during recovery (TR0-TR3). Moreover, post-tetanic count (PTC) was evaluated during deep neuromuscular block (TP0-TP2). We noticed no significant differences between the devices in recorded mean values of TOF ratio, TOF count, and PTC analyzed at time intervals for every phase of general anesthesia, although the i-TOF tends to an underestimation compared to TOF WATCH SX. For each patient, data sessions were successfully recorded by a smartphone. This aspect could be relevant for clinicians in order to have a stored proof of good clinical practice to be added on anesthesiologist records. By our results, i-TOF demonstrates a comparable efficacy to TOF WATCH SX, suggesting that it could be a proven alternative to standard devices for neuromuscular block monitoring. Further studies are needed to confirm our findings.

Keywords: Information technology; Nerve conduction studies.