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Ochsner Baton Rouge Boosts Patient Safety with Expanded Use of Capnography
Date:5/30/2013

BATON ROUGE, La., May 30, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Ochsner Medical Center –Baton Rouge recently expanded its use of capnography to monitor patients using pain medication through patient controlled analgesia (PCA) to strengthen patient safety measures. Capnography evaluates how effectively patients are breathing by measuring exhaled carbon dioxide, alerting medical caregivers when life-threatening respiratory depression occurs.

Respiratory depression is abnormally slow and shallow respiration, resulting in an increased level of carbon dioxide in the blood.  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.

Patient controlled analgesia can provide an effective way to control pain by allowing patients to self-administer small doses of pain medicine through intravenous (IV) therapy, but the technology poses unique risks because the opioid medications have the potential to suppress the patient's breathing -- which can be life threatening.

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 with patients using PCA  including monitoring patients with capnography and oximetry.

"Continuous electronic monitoring of patients provides valuable information about their condition," explains Dawn Pevey Mauk MBA, BSN, RN, NEA-BC, Chief Operating Officer/Chief Nursing Officer "The more you know about a patient's condition, the better we are equipped to ensuring their safety and providing optimal patient care."

Ochsner is among the nation's leaders in the early implementation of capnography monitoring to protect patients using PCA. L
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SOURCE Ochsner Medical Center
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