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Torrance Memorial Medical Center Boosts Patient Safety With Expanded Use Of Capnography Technology

TORRANCE, Calif., March 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Torrance Memorial Medical Center recently increased patient safety measures by expanding the use of capnography technology to monitor patients using patient controlled analgesia (PCA) pumps to regulate their pain, undergoing procedural sedation and in coronary care after surgery.

Capnography technology measures how effectively patients are breathing and can alert medical caregivers during an occurrence of life-threatening respiratory depression, which can lead to additional complications including cardiopulmonary arrest. By measuring the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) the patient is exhaling, capnography provides the earliest indication of respiratory depression, enabling medical staff to intervene before serious adverse events happen.

"Torrance Memorial is committed to protecting patient safety while providing the highest quality of care. Our widespread use of capnography to monitor patient respiration underscores this commitment," said Jennifer Stewart , CNS, Patient Safety Officer, Torrance Memorial Medical Center. "We gladly embrace the latest recommendations to provide our patients the safest experience possible."

Several medical associations recently have encouraged hospitals to make more widespread use of capnography technology to protect their patients. The Joint Commission, the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices all recommend monitoring exhaled CO2 (i.e. the quality of ventilation) with capnography to detect respiratory depression, which can be life threatening for patients on PCA pumps. These pumps have proven effective in controlling pain and allowing patients to be discharged from the hospital more quickly. However, because the pumps inject micro-doses of narcotics, the technology poses unique risks for patients, according to several healthcare organizations that recommend hospitals take special precautions. Torrance Memorial Medical Center is among the nation's leaders in the early implementation of capnography monitoring to protect patients using PCA pumps.

Additionally, the American Society of Anesthesiologists now requires the use of end-tidal CO2 monitoring as a part of its Standards for Basic Anesthetic Monitoring in procedural sedation.  Section 3.2.4 of the standard states, "During moderate or deep sedation the adequacy of ventilation shall be evaluated by continual observation of qualitative clinical signs and monitoring for the presence of exhaled carbon dioxide unless precluded or invalidated by the nature of the patient, procedure or equipment."

Torrance Memorial Medical Center also follows the American Heart Association guidelines recommending the use of capnography during advanced cardiac life support and pediatric advanced life support.  Its 2010 Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care recommend continuous quantitative waveform capnography for intubated patients throughout the peri-arrest period to confirm tracheal tube placement and to monitor cardiopulmonary resuscitation quality and detect return of spontaneous circulation.

"As a magnet facility, we knew a multidisciplinary approach to implementation would be key to our success," said Patrick Moore , RRT, Respiratory Therapy Clinical Educator, Torrance Memorial Medical Center. "A team comprised of anesthesiologists, registered nurses and respiratory therapists worked together, devising an implementation plan. All team members were dedicated to improving patient safety and outcomes for the community we serve."

Torrance Memorial Medical Center chose capnography equipment from Covidien, a leading global provider of healthcare products and recognized innovator in patient monitoring and respiratory care devices.

"We commend Torrance Memorial for being part of a growing number of facilities across the country committed to patient safety through the use of capnography," said Robert J. White , President, Respiratory & Monitoring Solutions, Covidien. "Its decision to monitor patients at risk of respiratory depression with both capnography and oximetry helps protect patients from risk when using state-of-the-art pain management systems."

About Torrance Memorial Medical Center

Founded in 1925 by Jared Sydney and Helena Childs Torrance , Torrance Memorial Medical Center is a locally governed, 401-bed, non-profit medical center established to provide quality healthcare services, predominantly to the residents of the South Bay, Peninsula and Harbor communities. Torrance Memorial seeks to offer the most current and effective medical technologies rendered in a compassionate, caring manner. For more information please visit:

SOURCE Torrance Memorial Medical Center
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