emDocs - May 30, 2016 - Author: Long B - Editor: Koyfman A and Singh M
"Capnography has shown great potential in several conditions and procedures in emergency medicine. Literature exists for its use in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, intubation for confirmation of ETT placement, resuscitation of critically ill patients with sepsis, monitoring response to treatment in patients with respiratory distress (specifically COPD, CHF, and asthma), pulmonary embolism, and procedural sedation. For more details, go HERE.
However, how do you interpret quantitative capnography waveforms? We own the resuscitation of critically ill patients, and with boarding increasing in EDs, we need to know how to interpret waveforms. This instrument can provide a great deal of important information if properly understood...
SummaryUse an algorithm for waveform capnography analysis.
- Look for presence of exhaled CO2 (Is a waveform present?)
- Inspiratory baseline (Is there rebreathing?)
- Expiratory upstroke (What is the shape i.e. steep, sloping, or prolonged?)
- Expiratory/alveolar plateau (Is it sloping, steep, or prolonged?)
- Inspiratory downstroke (Is it sloping, steep, or prolonged)
Ensure you evaluate the height, frequency, rhythm, baseline, and shape.
Understanding waveforms and how to interpret them can provide a great deal of information. We are the masters of resuscitation, and this is a vital component of caring for critical patients."