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Capnometry in the prehospital setting: are we using its potential?


Capnometry is a non-invasive monitoring technique which allows fast and reliable insight into ventilation, circulation, and metabolism. In the prehospital setting it is mainly used to confirm correct tracheal tube placement. In addition it is a useful indicator of efficient ongoing cardiopulmonary resuscitation due to its correlation with cardiac output, and successful resuscitation. It helps to confirm the diagnosis of pulmonary thromboembolism and to sustain adequate ventilation in mechanically ventilated patients. In patients with haemorrhage, capnometry provides improved continuous haemodynamic monitoring, insight into adequacy of tissue perfusion, optimisation within current hypotensive fluid resuscitation strategy, and prevention of shock progression through controlled fluid administration.

  • CO2, carbon dioxide
  • CPR, cardiopulmonary resuscitation
  • Paco2, alveolar carbon dioxide partial pressure
  • Paco2, arterial carbon dioxide partial pressure
  • Petco2, end tidal carbon dioxide partial pressure
  • Pvco2, venous carbon dioxide partial pressure

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