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Capnography Now Standard of Care

This supplement focuses on how waveform capnography has become a solid standard of care treatment modality. Its use is being expanded daily to offer optimal assessment and care of conscious and unconscious patients.

In “Basic Capnography,” Jeffrey M. Goodloe, MD, NREMT-P, FACEP, discusses how waveform capnography greatly expands the assessment, diagnostic and management capabilities of EMS systems and points out that it can, and should, be used by ALS and BLS providers. Medical directors and EMS administrators are realizing that significant care benefits can be realized for a multitude of additional EMS patients when waveform capnography is placed in the critical-thinking minds and skilled hands of BLS professionals.

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a significant medical condition that dominates the respiratory responses of many EMS systems. In “Pump Problems,” Keith Wesley, MD, FACEP, presents capnography’s important role in the assessment and monitoring of patients with CHF, emphasizing that 50% of CHF patients are readmitted to the hospital within six months of their last hospitalization and have an overall mortality of about 10%. He explains the current treatment approaches for CHF and the need for EMS personnel to be able to evaluate the status of the ventilatory and circulatory system of patients via capnography.

In “The Smoke of Metabolism,” Troy Valente, BA, NREMT-P, explains how capnography can serve as an ideal assessment tool in the field, rapidly and accurately alerting clinicians to perfusion and/or metabolic problems. Asthma is a common inflammatory disease that involves periodic episodes of severe but reversible bronchial obstruction. In “Severe Asthma,”Bob Page, BAS, NREMT-P, CCEMT-P, NCE, shows how capnography can provide a good indication of your patient’s arterial blood gas level, therefore giving you an objective, reliable and accurate tool for assessing the severity of an asthma attack.

Page refers to capnography as one of the most important clinical upgrades he’s seen in more than 30 years because it’s the only noninvasive measure of a fundamental life process and can be used as a triage tool for the patient with a wide variety of complaints. It gives EMS providers a patient’s airway, breathing and circulation assessment in as little as three breaths.

The team of authors contributing to this supplement do a masterful job of explaining how you can use capnography as an important assessment and monitoring tool and, more importantly, to optimize the care you render to your patients.


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