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To incorporate capnography into the care of patients receiving or recovering from continuous opioid infusions or sedation or at the discretion of RN or RT for patients with respiratory compromise.

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capnography, early detection, patient care


Other Nursing


What is Capnography?

  • End-tidal CO2 (EtCO2) is the measurement of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the airway at the end of each breath.
  • Capnography provides a numeric reading (amount) of the EtCO2 and a graphic display (waveform) of CO2 through out the respiratory cycle. This is a noninvasive measurement of quality of ventilation.
  • Breath by breath assessment of ventilation status.
  • Capnography is already a standard of care for anesthesia and mechanically ventilated patients.

Why use capnography?

  • Pulse oximetry is a direct monitor to reflect the status of oxygenation of the patient.
  • Capnography is a indirect monitor and helps in the differential diagnosis of hypoxia to enable interventions.
  • Capnography provides information about CO2 production, pulmonary perfusion, alveolar ventilation, respiratory patterns, and elimination of CO2.
  • Capnography has been show to be effective in the early detection of adverse respiratory events.
  • Capnography and pulse oximetry together could have helped in the prevention of avoidable sedation and opioid mishaps.
  • Capnography has also been shown to facilitate better detection of potentially life-threatening problems that clinical judgment alone.

Capnography Monitoring: A New Tool for SCH

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