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Prevention of Fatal Respiratory Depression with Capnography
According to a recent study, nurses were able to detect respiratory depression in post-operative patients receiving patient-controlled analgesia more effectively when alerted by capnographic monitoring than pulse-oximetry. Use of capnography has improved clinician confidence that opioid dosing can be safely used in postoperative patients for more effective pain management.
The Role of End-Tidal CO2 (etCO2) in Capnography
End-tidal CO2 ("EtCO2") monitoring is a noninvasive technique that measures the partial pressure or maximal concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) at the end of an exhaled breath, which is expressed as a percentage of CO2 or mmHg. EtCO2 monitors, or capnometers, help practitioners receive and assess instant feedback about ventilation, as opposed to pulse oximeters, which provide feedback about oxygenation.