Capnography is a vital part of every veterinary practice’s procedures – yet it is one that can be misinterpreted very easily. At Thames Medical, we provide in-depth training sessions for capnography – and we’ve noticed a few mistakes that come up time and time again. Here’s a quick guide to the most common mistakes – and how you can avoid them.
1) False Low Readings
False low readings can be measured if the dead space between the patient and the apparatus is too large, or if the fresh gas flow is too high for the patient – which can lead to a dilution of the measured sample. Check your fresh gas flow calculations thoroughly and reduce any dead space that you can.
2) False High Readings
False high readings can occur when the monitors have not been zeroed properly. Always make sure to zero the equipment before assessing a patient. Another common issue can be the airway adapter – these attachments need changing on a regular basis as wear can cause problems with accuracy.
3) System Leaks
Leaks and disconnections can lead to erroneous low readings where the sample becomes diluted or escapes the system. It’s vital that you always check the connections along the line, especially around the patient’s airway and at the monitor.
4) Taking All Of The Data Into Account
One of the most common mistakes we see is the operator only taking either the visual or numerical data into account. It’s important to understand what the shape of the waveform means, but this has to be taken into account with the numerical data (i.e. the SpO2%, respiratory rate and EtCO2 levels) as there are many ways to interpret a waveform shape. This also goes for focusing on the numerical data – either way, you’re only getting half the picture.
5) Not Regularly Servicing, Repairing Or Replacing Your Equipment
Replacing capnography peripherals that are designed as disposable (such as airway adapters, sample lines and filters) on a regular basis is an absolute must. It’s a false economy to try make a £15 item last beyond it’s normal use. And while most equipment lasts a long time, it’s important to make sure that you get the best quality kit possible and do your best to take good care of it. A faulty machine can cause numerous problems and end up costing even more in the long run!
At Thames Medical, we only supply quality UK-made equipment and provide an excellent repairs service on most monitors. For more information on our products and services, check out our store or give us a call!