Potential applications of capnography in the prehospital setting


End-tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2) monitoring is well established in hospital theatre and critical care settings (Lah and Grmec, 2010), employed for observation and monitoring in anaesthesia. Its application has now extended to the prehospital environment, primarily for the verification of endotracheal tube (ETT) placement, endeavouring to reduce the occurrence of oesophageal intubations (Grmec and Malley, 2004). In recent times, technological advances, coupled with an increased appreciation of the importance of prehospital interventions, has resulted in the production of additional equipment capable of monitoring ETCO2 in non-intubated, self-ventilating patients via a non-invasive nasal cannula. Despite having an extensive range of potential uses, the apparatus is widely underused (Langhan and Chen, 2008). In this article, potential applications in the prehospital setting will be discussed via a review of contemporary literature.

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