Using Capnography and Recognizing Respiratory Compromise Could Save Patient Lives

The Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) released a clinical education podcast, “Using Capnography and Recognizing Respiratory Compromise Could Save Patient Lives.”

The podcast features an interview with Jenifer Lightdale, MPH, MD who is division chief, pediatric gastroenterology and chief quality officer at the Children’s Medical Center at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Dr. Jenifer Lightdale
Dr. Jenifer Lightdale

In the podcast, Dr. Lightdale emphasized the need to monitor all patients receiving sedation:

“all patients receiving sedation should be monitored and all medical guidelines at this point are pretty clear that that is the case.”

She discussed the recent research that she conducted with her colleagues, “Patient safety during procedural sedation using capnography monitoring: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” which found that “use of capnography was associated with less mild and severe oxygen desaturation, which may have helped to avoid the need for assisted ventilation.”

Dr. Lightdale believes that detecting respiratory compromise may allow for life-saving interventions:

“I think recognizing that respiratory compromise, or the risk of respiratory compromise, or as the respiratory compromise is beginning, the earlier you can recognize that that’s happening, the more likely you are to reduce adverse events and certainly bad adverse events like patient death.”    

Dr. Lightdale encouraged clinicians to be open to using new technology, like capnography:

“If you’re flying an airplane, most of the time you get on at your point of departure and you land at your point of arrival – and there was no problem – but you would be open and I think all of us would be open to a new dial, a new technology in the cockpit that would help us to recognize the trouble is coming and to see that way before the trouble actually happens and give us a chance to avoid it. And, I would really encourage all clinicians and hospital executives to be open to the fact that what we in medicine have that possibility too. These new technologies are here and more are coming, and we should be open to exploring them and certainly to incorporating them in our guidelines when they’ve been proven to be helpful.”

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

To listen to the podcast, please go to the PPAHS YouTube channel.

Leave a Comment, if You Care About Patient Safety