Methodist Hospitals System (Northern Illinois) has implemented capnography monitoring to protect patients sedated using patient-controlled analgesia (PCA). Long used in operating rooms to monitor patients under general anesthesia, hospitals are now deploying capnography after surgery, as well. The early indication of respiratory depression capnography provides enables medical staff to intervene before serious adverse events happen.

Specifically, capnography measures how effectively patients are breathing by measuring exhaled carbon dioxide and can alert medical caregivers when life-threatening respiratory depression occurs. Capnography provides the earliest indication of evolving respiratory compromise, which can lead to significant morbidity or even cardiopulmonary arrest if undetected. Oximetry monitors the patient’s blood oxygen levels ensuring that the patient is receiving enough oxygen.

“Our decision to expand the use of capnography beyond surgery and the ICU to monitor all of our patients using patient-controlled anesthesia is in line with national best practices and underscores our dedication to patient safety,” said Mary Jo Valentine, RN, CNS, director of Nursing Professional Development.