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Pulse oximetry and capnography in the ICU 

Pulse oximetry and capnography in the ICU
Pulse oximetry and capnography in the ICU

Richard Lee

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date: 20 February 2020

The estimation of arterial oxygen saturation by pulse oximetry and arterial carbon dioxide tension by capnography are vital monitoring techniques in critical care medicine, particularly during intubation, ventilation and transport. Equivalent continuous information is not otherwise available. It is important to understand the principles of measurement and limitations, for safe use and error detection. PETCO2 and oxygen saturation should be regularly checked against PaCO2 and co-oximeter SO2 obtained from the blood gas machine. The PECO2 trace informs endotracheal tube placement, ventilation, and blood flow to the lungs. It is essential their principles of estimation, the information gained and the traps in interpretation are understood.

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