Capnography Monitoring During Conscious Sedation:

The Physician-Physician Alliance for Health Safety has released a clinical education podcast on capnography monitoring during conscious sedation with Barbara McArthur, RN, BScN, CPN(C). Ms. McArthur is an advanced practice nurse at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto, Canada.

Capnography Monitoring: An Early Indicator of Patient Deterioration

After reviewing the current literature, Sunnybrook decided that monitoring with capnography resulted in safer patient care. Capnography monitoring provides an early indicator of patient deterioration, which can be crucial in averting adverse events and patient deaths. Capnography monitoring, says Ms. McArthur, is monitoring in “real time. With pulse oximetry, there is a delay, which could be up to a minute in healthy patients. So, that’s a significant sort of time that is delayed that reaction could happen.” 


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“Having the monitor can let you know the patient’s status sooner,” explains Ms. McArthur, “for example, if they’re getting into respiratory problems, the nurses can intervene much quicker.” As a result, since implementing capnography monitoring, Ms. McArthur says that she is “not aware of any patients receiving reversal or any escalation of care with a rapid response team.”

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Clinical Education Podcasts on Capnography Monitoring

To read a transcript of the interview with Ms. McArthur, please click here.

The podcast may be viewed on the PPAHS YouTube channel by clicking here.

For two other related clinical education podcasts, please listen to:

  • Capnography Monitoring: Yesterday’s Luxury, Today’s Necessity During Conscious Sedation” – Matt Kurrek, MD, FRCPC (Professor, Department of Anesthesia, University of Toronto) and Richard Merchant, MD, FRCPC (Clinical Professor, University of British Columbia, Department of Anesthesia, Pharmacology & Therapeutics) discuss why capnography monitoring may have been considered yesterday’s luxury, but is now a necessity during procedures involving conscious sedation.
  • Is Respiratory Compromise The New ‘Sepsis’?” – Jeffrey S. Vender, MD (Clinical Professor, University Of Chicago, Pritzker School of Medicine) and Chairman of the clinical advisory committee to the Respiratory Compromise Institute ( points out that there are similarities between the campaign to raise awareness about respiratory compromise to early stages of the campaign to raise awareness about sepsis. The podcast discusses the benefits of early detection of respiratory compromise through continuous patient monitoring.

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