Did you know that respiratory distress is one of the most common patient complaints? Luckily, a capnograph can help address respiratory system complications and potentially save lives. A capnograph measures carbon dioxide in breaths over time. It has many uses as an effective monitoring tool, including during anesthesia and in intensive care or emergency care settings.
Initially, capnography was used by anesthesiologists during surgery. Eventually, capnography machine evolved. It is now an extremely useful tool for intensive care and emergency medical service providers to measure vital signs. A capnograph allows healthcare workers to observe carbon dioxide levels by measuring them during the breathing cycle. Carbon dioxide levels offer critical health information about ventilation, circulation, and metabolism. Elevated carbon dioxide levels can lead to a range of health complications. Some of these include fever, hyperventilation, seizures, panic attacks, and arrhythmias.
Most of the symptoms associated with these health complications may not manifest on sedated patients. By the time they do, the patient may already be in danger. Capnography uses infrared waves to check and measure carbon dioxide. These measurements are displayed as waveforms. Capnography machine provides a way to observe carbon dioxide changes so that healthcare personnel can prevent the worsening of complications.
If a patient experiences respiratory distress, there may be many factors at play, including asthma and pneumonia. The shape of the waveform of capnography machine can provide clues as to where the problem lies. This is because the shape of the waveform mimics airflow through the lungs. When the waveform shape is rectangular, this is a good sign that there is no constriction in the lower airways. However, if the wave takes on a shark fin shape, air restriction is likely occurring. In some cases, an airway management device may be inserted improperly, leading to inadequate ventilation. This potentially fatal oversight can be detected and corrected with capnography machine.
Waveforms from capnography machine have multiple uses. These include detecting evidence of: correct placement of an endotracheal tube; malignant hyperthermia; air, fat, or pulmonary embolism; hyperventilation; efficacy of cardiopulmonary resuscitation; the multifunctionality of capnography machine makes it increasingly popular in the medical field.