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A comparison of the end-tidal CO2 measured by portable capnometer and the arterial PCO2 in spontaneously breathing patients

Y Takano, O Sakamoto, C Kiyofuji, K Ito
Respiratory Medicine 2003, 97 (5): 476-81
12735663
An end-tidal CO2 (ETCO2) monitor (capnometer) is used most often as a noninvasive substitute for PaCO2 in anesthesia, anesthetic recovery and intensive care. However, the utility and accuracy of the portable capnometer in spontaneously breathing patients with or without chronic pulmonary diseases has received little recognition. To determine the utility of the portable capnometer in general wards and in in-home care, we examined the correlation between ETCO2 measured by a portable capnometer and simultaneous PaCO2 measured in 41 spontaneously breathing patients. TV-ETCO2 (ETCO2 measured by tidal volume maneuver) was lower than PaCO2 by an average of 9.0 mmHg and VC-ETCO2 (ETCO2 measured by vital capacity maneuver) was lower than PaCO2 by an average of 0.5 mmHg. The mean difference between PaCO2 and VC-ETCO2 was not statistically significant. Regression analysis showed a close correlation between VC-ETCO2 and PaCO2 (r = 0.91, P < 0.0001). Thus,VC-ETCO2 was highly correlated with PaCO2. Furthermore, a close correlation between VC-ETCO2 and PaCO2 was also observed in patients with compromised pulmonary function (r = 0.88, P < 0.0001 in patients with below 70% of FEV(1.0)%; r = 0.89, P < 0.0001 in patients with below 80% of %VC). Our studies show that VC-ETCO2 measured by the portable capnometer gives a reliable pointestimate of PaCO2, and can be useful to evaluate the respiratory condition of spontaneously breathing patients in general wards and in in-home care.

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