Capnography in mechanically ventilated patients
Capnography, the science of CO2 waveforms analysis, can play a role in the management of mechanically ventilated patients. Mass spectrometers are the devices most commonly used to collect sequentially and examine CO2 waveforms from multiple patients in the ICU or operating rooms. We present here a review of some clinical and technical problems, which may be resolved efficiently and expeditiously through the use of mass spectrometry and capnography. Mechanical failures, especially those that lead to rebreathing of exhaled gases, can be readily detected. The patient's progress during weaning and the consequences of changes in mechanical assistance can be virtually and noninvasively determined. An expanded role of capnography in mechanically ventilated patients can increase the use of mass spectrometers in the ICU.