Ensuring Child Safety During Common Medical Procedures

Nov 03, 2011, 10:30 ET from Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety

CHICAGO, Nov. 3, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The safety of children could be at risk when they undergo common procedures involving sedation, such as for fracture reduction, laceration repair, and incision and drainage of an abscess.

As a recent study published in Pediatric Emergency Care found, 72% of the episodes of prolonged hypoxia were preceded by decreases in ETco2 as measured by capnography. This suggests that the use of capnography would enhance patient safety by decreasing the frequency of hypoxia during sedation in children. A capnograph is monitoring device that measures the concentration of carbon dioxide that a person breathes out in exhaled air and displays on a numerical readout and waveform tracing. For links to the study: http://wp.me/p1JikT-83

"Medical guidelines for monitoring during general anesthesia recognize the importance of monitoring with capnography," observes Dr. Melissa Langhan (Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, Yale School of Medicine). "Unfortunately, continuous capnography is not routinely used outside of the operating room. Capnography can really enhance patient safety, and healthcare professionals need to think about using it more often. As our study found, using capnography enhanced patient safety, by being able to detect declines in end tidal CO2 indicating hypoventilation which could lead to hypoxemia."

Dr. Langhan and her colleagues analyzed children undergoing common procedures involving sedation.

For the YouTube video where Dr. Langhan explains how using capnography could improve patient safety, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lwZmTXfFWy0

As Dr. Langhan explains:

"We wanted to assess the degree of hypopneic ventilation, which is very difficult to detect on clinical exam. Once we enrolled our children, we were monitoring with capnography. We found that 50% of our subjects had declines in their end tidal CO2 values indicating hypopneic hypoventilation. Some of those were transient, but about one-third of our patients had persistent declines in end tidal CO2. We then found that about one-fourth to a third went on to declines in their pulse oximetry. So, our patients who had declines in end tidal CO2 were six times more likely to go on to develop hypoxemia, than those who did not."

For the YouTube video, where Dr. Langhan describes some patient cases where capnography improved patient safety, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V8sOkzXLZ0c

About Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety

Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety (PPAHS) is an advocacy group devoted to improving patient health and safety. PPAHS is composed of physicians, patients, individuals, and organizations. Our website is http://ppahs.wordpress.com/

SOURCE Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety