Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City recently expanded its use of capnography for respiratory monitoring outside the operating room, joining a growing group of healthcare leaders in embracing state-of-the-art patient safety technology.

Capnography measures how effectively patients are breathing and can alert medical caregivers when life-threatening respiratory depression occurs. By measuring the amount of carbon dioxide the patient is exhaling, capnography serves as the earliest indication of evolving respiratory compromise, which can lead to significant morbidity or even cardiopulmonary arrest if undetected.

Long used in operating rooms to monitor patients under general anesthesia, hospitals committed to patient safety are now deploying capnography to monitor the quality of patients’ breathing in other care areas where respiratory depression may occur.

Early indication of respiratory depression with capnography enables medical staff to intervene before serious adverse events happen. Respiratory depression may occur, such as in certain nonsurgical procedures and in certain hospitalization situations, said James Callaghan, MD, President, Franciscan-St. Anthony Health-Michigan City.

“Our hospital’s commitment to quality care is further enhanced by our use of capnography,” Callaghan said, adding, “Franciscan St. Anthony Health’s use of capnography to monitor the adequacy of ventilation of patients outside the operating room is in line with the latest recommendations and underscores our dedication to patient safety.”