September 2007, Volume 37 Number 9 , p 18 - 19
D'Arcy, Yvonne CRNP, CNS, MS
Yvonne D'Arcy is a nurse practitioner in pain management and palliative care at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., and is a member of the Nursing2007 editorial advisory board. Figure. No caption available.
QUESTION: Is capnography better than pulse oximetry for monitoring for respiratory depression in a patient receiving an opioid via patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) pump?
ANSWER: Monitoring for respiratory depression is always a priority when a patient is receiving an opioid. Capnography (also called end-tidal carbon dioxide [ETCO 2 ] monitoring) is a more reliable indicator of respiratory depression than pulse oximetry, which measures peripheral arterial oxygen saturation (SpO 2 ). Pulse oximetry won't provide accurate information about hypoventilation if the patient is receiving supplemental oxygen. 1
The incidence of respiratory depression in patients using PCA for postoperative pain relief may be significantly ...