Monday, June 23, 2014

Critical Care Monitoring – EtCO2 / SpO2

Pulse oximetry is one of the most useful practices in the world of critical care medicine, allowing professionals to get a quick read on blood oxygen levels and use that data in diagnosis and in determining the need for supplemental oxygen. Because of their simplicity, pulse oximeters are common in several healthcare service levels ranging from ICU / critical care (to monitor the oxygenation of a patient) to recovery after reconstructive (to ensure oxygenated blood is reaching affected areas).

Nonin Handheld CO2 Monitor
However, oximetry has its limitations – it can only provide so much information, and sometimes, other tools are required to ensure patient health. Pulse oximetry works by refraction and only measures hemoglobin (oxygenated blood) saturation – not ventilation or metabolism of the oxygen. Sometimes, an oximeter alone doesn’t give you the entire picture of data needed to make critical medical decisions. For example, in patients with severe anemia, the blood can be 100% saturated and will give an oximeter reading as such, but will not be effective because blood that has been affected by severe anemia, even at full saturation, will not contain enough oxygen to be effective within the body.


A common supplement and method used in conjunction with oximetry is capnography monitoring. One of the issues with an oximeter is that you’re only measuring oxygen levels in blood - not the concentration or pressure of carbon dioxide, which are critical for respiratory function (the removal of CO2 from the body). You could still have a very high oxygen saturation number, but if the CO2 isn’t being removed from the bloodstream, that will eventually cause several health concerns. In order to be able to get the full picture of respiratory health, you’ll have to be able to gauge both EtCO2 concentrations and Sp02 (blood oxygen saturation).

According to the American Society of Anesthesiologists, 93% of avoidable anesthesia mishaps can be prevented by employing both a pulse oximeter and capnography monitor. These two tools in conjunction give a much better gauge of respiratory health then either device can provide alone.

In addition to having the largest selection of oximetry devices you’ll find anywhere, Concord Health Supply offers several devices for CO2 monitoring including our critical care EtCO2 oximeter, the LifeSense Tabletop Capnography EtCO2 and Pulse Oximetry monitor, and the Nonin Handheld CO2 and Pulse Oximetry Monitor. Check out our selection today to get both capabilities in one device.