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How to Read and Interpret End-Tidal Capnography Waveforms

Capnography is a great way to confirm airway device placement and monitor ventilation, but it can do so much more. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a product of metabolism transported via perfusion and expelled through ventilation. End-tidal carbon dioxide (EtCO2) waveform monitoring allows you to measure all three simultaneously, making it the most important vital sign you use.1 To evaluate the metabolism, ventilation and perfusion of a patient through EtCO2 waveform monitoring you need to read the PQRST: proper, quantity, rate, shape and trend. Proper means that you should know the normal readings for quantity, rate, shape and trending of EtCO2. In this case, normal means what we find in a healthy person with no metabolism, ventilation or perfusion problems. One of the great things about EtCO2 is that although ventilation rates vary based on age, normal readings for quantity, shape and trends are the same for men and women of all age groups, making them easy to remember. Quantity; target EtCO2 value should be 35-45 mmHg. Rate of ventilation should be 12-20 breaths per minute (bpm) for adults if the patient is breathing on their own and 10-12 bpm if you're ventilating them. Children should be ventilated at a rate of 15-30 bpm; 25-50 bpm for infants. Ventilating too quickly won't let enough CO2 build up in the alveoli, resulting in lower EtCO2 readings. Ventilating too slowly will allow extra CO2 to build up, resulting in higher readings. Shape of the waveform should normally be a rec...
Source: JEMS Patient Care - Category: Emergency Medicine Authors: Tags: Airway & Respiratory Patient Care Source Type: news

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