Capnography and Trauma

Prehospital end-tidal carbon dioxide concentration and outcome in major trauma

Deakin CD, Sado DM, Coats TJ, Davies G.,J Trauma. 2004 Jul;57(1):65-8

BACKGROUND: End-tidal carbon dioxide (Petco2) concentration is a marker of the pathophysiologic state because it is a reflection of cardiac output. Petco2 correlates with outcome after prehospital primary cardiac arrest, but association with outcome from prehospital trauma has not been established. METHODS: Between 1998 and 2001, Petco2 was recorded in 191 blunt trauma patients requiring prehospital intubation. Rapid sequence intubation was performed using suxamethonium (1 mg/kg) and etomidate (0.2-0.3 mg/kg). Initial Petco2 after endotracheal intubation (t0) and Petco2 at 20 minutes after endotracheal intubation (t20) were recorded, together with survival to discharge. RESULTS: Median Petco2 at t20 was 4.10 kPa in survivors and 3.50 kPa in nonsurvivors (95% confidence interval of difference between medians,). Petco2 at t20 was a better predictor of outcome than at t0. CONCLUSION: Only 5% patients with Petco2 less than 3.25 kPa survived to discharge. Petco2 at t20 is of value in predicting outcome from major trauma.

Here's an article about the study by Bryan Bledsoe, D.O.

ETCO2 and Trauma

Bottom Line for EMS: ETCO2 again can help predict severity of injury and outcome.


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