BALTIMORE, March 17, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Medstar Harbor Hospital strengthens patient safety measures by its use of capnography to monitor patients using patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) to regulate their pain after surgery.
PCA can provide an effective way to control pain by allowing patients to self-administer small doses of pain medication intravenously, but the technology poses unique risks because the medications used can also suppress the patient's breathing. The Joint Commission, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices all recommend that hospitals take special precautions including monitoring patients with capnography and oximetry.
Specifically, capnography measures how effectively patients are breathing by measuring exhaled carbon dioxide and can alert medical caregivers when life-threatening respiratory depression occurs. Capnography provides the earliest indication of evolving respiratory compromise, which can lead to significant morbidity or even cardiopulmonary arrest if undetected. Oximetry monitors the patient's blood oxygen levels ensuring that the patient is receiving enough oxygen.
Long used in operating rooms to monitor patients under general anesthesia, hospitals are now deploying capnography after surgery, as well. Early indication of respiratory depression with capnography enables medical staff to intervene before serious adverse events happen.
"Medstar Harbor Hospital is committed to providing the very highest quality patient care. Our widespread use of capnography to monitor a patient's breathing is in line with the latest recommendations and underscores our dedication to patient safety," said Lenora Addison, RN, BSN, MA, the hospital's vice president of patient care services.
About Medstar Health
MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar's 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health's patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical excellence with an emphasis on customer service. For more information, visit MedStarHealth.org
SOURCE MedStar Health