Opioid Safety, Respiratory Compromise

Addressing The Joint Commission Opioid Warnings: A Case Study from Wesley Medical Center on Reducing Respiratory Depression and Improving Patient Safety

By Sean Power and Michael Wong

(This article first appeared in Becker’s Clinical Quality & Infection Control.)

Respiratory depression has been associated with the use of opioid analgesics. However, a recent study by researchers at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kan., suggests exhaled CO2 monitoring of patients using patient-controlled analgesia pumps could help reduce the occurrence of this adverse event. Specifically, Debra Fox, MBA, RRT-NPS, and Mark Wencel, MD, examined respiratory depression rates with the use of PCA pumps and intermittent IV opioids for pain management. Read More