Cooper University Health Care expands capnography use


Cooper University Health Care, one of the largest health systems in Southern New Jersey, has strengthened patient safety measures by expanding its use of capnography to monitor patients using patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) to regulate their pain after surgery.

PCA can provide an effective way to control pain by allowing patients to self-administer small doses of pain medication intravenously, but the technology poses unique risks because the opioid medications used can also suppress the patient's breathing.

The Joint Commission, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices all recommend that hospitals take special precautions including monitoring patients with capnography and oximetry.

Specifically, capnography measures how effectively patients are breathing by measuring exhaled carbon dioxide and can alert medical caregivers when life-threatening respiratory depression occurs. Capnography provides the earliest indication of evolving respiratory compromise, which can lead to significant morbidity or even cardiopulmonary arrest if undetected. Oximetry monitors the patient's blood oxygen levels ensuring that the patient is receiving enough oxygen.

Cooper University Health Care is among the nation's leaders in the early implementation of capnography monitoring to protect patients using PCA. Long used in operating rooms to monitor patients under general anesthesia, hospitals are now deploying capnography after surgery as well. Early indication of respiratory depression with capanography enables medical staff to intervene before serious adverse events happen.

"Cooper University Health Care is committed to providing the highest quality of care. Our widespread use of capnography to monitor a patient's breathing is in line with the latest recommendations and underscores our dedication to patient safety," said Dr Anthony Mazzarelli, senior vice president of operations and chief medical officer. 

Cooper University Health Care chose capnography equipment from Covidien, a leading global provider of healthcare products and recognized innovator in patient monitoring and respiratory care devices.

"We commend Cooper University Health Care for being part of a growing number of facilities across the country committed to patient safety through the use of capnography," said Matt Anderson, vice president and general manager, Respiratory & Monitoring Solutions, Covidien.

“Its decision to monitor patients at risk of respiratory depression with capnography and oximetry ensures patients have a level of protection when using state-of-the-art pain management systems.”

Cooper University Health Care, Capnography, Anthony Mazzarelli, Covidien, Matt Anderson