Continuous Respiratory Monitoring and a “Smart” Infusion System Improve Safety of Patient-Controlled Analgesia in the Postoperative Period

The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation has noted an underappreciated risk of serious injury from patient-controlled analgesia (PCA)—including life threatening respiratory depression (RD) in young, healthy patients—and has urged consideration of “smart” PCA pumps and continuous oxygenation and ventilation monitoring of patients receiving PCA therapy. Clinical experience shows that non-invasive capnographic monitoring provides the earliest warning of RD. Use of this technology documented an incidence of PCA-related RD-bradypnea many times higher than previously reported. St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System was the first U.S. hospital system to implement such technology. Learn about their implementation of “smart” PCA pumps with continuous respiratory monitoring and results achieved in significant programming errors averted and patients protected even when the PCA infusion was correctly programmed.