TRMC expands use of capnography to monitor patients during moderate sedation

Tillamook Regional Medical Center (TRMC) recently strengthened patient safety measures by expanding its use of capnography to monitor patients during moderate sedation. Sedation is commonly used during procedures such as colonoscopies and in some instances can suppress breathing.

Capnography measures how effectively patients are breathing and can alert medical caregivers when life-threatening respiratory depression occurs. Gregory Opdahl, MD, TRMC anesthesiologist said, "Capnography demonstrates hypoventillation seconds and minutes before pulse oxymetry, allowing us to intervene long before dangerously low oxygen levels become a factor in patient management."

By measuring the amount of carbon dioxide the patient is exhaling, capnography provides the earliest indication of evolving respiratory compromise, which can lead to significant morbidity or even cardiopulmonary arrest if undetected.

Dr. Opdahl goes on to say, "Capnography allows not only quantitative analysis of gas exchange and indirectly cardiac output, but qualitative analysis aids in narcotic titration, prevention and treatment of intracranial hypertension, and assessment of airway patency, as well as allowing immediate evaluation of successful establishment of airway. Its value to the clinical setting cannot be overstated, both in preventing catastrophic patient complication and improving routine elective patient procedure outcomes."

The American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) now requires the use of capnography monitoring as a part of their Standards for Basic Anesthetic Monitoring.

Tillamook Regional Medical Center is among the nation's leaders in the early implementation of capnography monitoring to protect patients under sedation. Long used in operating rooms to monitor patients under general anesthesia, hospitals committed to patient safety are now deploying capnography during procedural sedation, as well.

"Tillamook Regional Medical Center is committed to providing the highest quality of care. Our widespread use of capnography to monitor the breathing of patients who are being sedated is in line with the latest requirements from the ASA and underscores our dedication to patient safety," said Kathy Saxon, Chief Nursing Officer.


Tillamook Regional Medical Center


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