In basic terms, capnography is the measuring of carbon dioxide (CO2) in exhaled breath. The monitoring of ventilation from the body via carbon dioxide readings in exhaled breath and this allows paramedics to evaluate a patient’s ventilator status.
What is Ventilation?
Ventilation in the simplest terms is the process of how we get rid of carbon dioxide from our bodies after the oxygenation has occurred throughout our bodies. Unwanted CO2 is carried back through the blood and exhaled via the longs through the lungs and the alveoli.
This is where capnography comes in as it monitors the CO2 output from the lungs as the body ventilates. Capnography, whilst allowing medical professionals to read the ventilator status of their patient can also provide an immediate picture of the patient’s condition internally.
It indirectly highlights the status of the metabolism and circulation of the patient allowing greater knowledge to be received by whoever is treating the person.
How does Capnography help?
Capnography can act as an early warning system for an impending respiratory crisis as it provides a breath by breath trend and analysis of the patient’s ventilation.
One of the conditions it can help detect is hyperventilation or hypoventilation, which is when a person’s CO2 fluctuates either down or up.
Monitoring the CO2 output is also a good way of measuring the effectiveness of CPR when being performed on a patient. If the CO2 output readings are high or at a normal level then the CPR being performed on the patient is effectively circulating oxygen around the body as carbon dioxide is being exhaled.
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