Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

A How-To Guide for Reducing Adverse Drug Events Related to Opioids (RADEO)

By Sean Power

Respiratory compromise is the primary antecedent to ‘code blue’, the leading trigger of rapid response calls, and the number one cause of ICU admissions. Respiratory compromise is one of three indicators accounting for 66 percent of all preventable patient safety issues and causes higher mortality rates, longer hospital and ICU stays, and millions of healthcare dollars every year.

Respiratory compromise consists of respiratory insufficiency, distress, arrest, and failure. Respiratory Compromise is a state in which there is a high likelihood of decompensation into respiratory insufficiency, respiratory failure or death, but in which specific interventions (enhanced monitoring and/or therapies) might prevent or mitigate decompensation.

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