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ETCO2 problems and why your alarms keep going off on your patient monitor

Are you tired of telling your assistant to silence the alarm on your patient monitor?  You are not alone.  When doing conscious sedation you are usually monitoring the patients CO2 levels on an open circuit.  This means the patient is not intubated and they are often breathing through their mouth.   


When this happens, the patient monitor will start to alarm making you think the patient has stopped breathing and gone apneic.


A few best practices with your vital signs monitor will help you more efficiently capture your patients CO2 and respiration levels however, it is not perfect.  


ETCO2 Dual Nasal Cannulas are a great way to deliver oxygen while monitoring the patients respiration.  Be sure to make sure your patients can breath properly and the cannula does not get occluded inside the patients nasal cavity.  

Sample lines for capnography monitors are a cost effective solution to monitoring etco2, however, they often get clogged, collect moisture, and can cause more false readings.  If you do intend to use them be sure so change every patient and to connect the sampling end as close to the patients nasal passage as possible. 

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