Procedural sedation is used to alleviate pain and anxiety associated with diagnostic procedures in the acute care setting. Although commonly used, procedural sedation is not without risk. Key to reducing this risk is early identification of risk factors through presedation screening and monitoring during the procedure. Electrocardiogram, respiratory rate, blood pressure, and pulse oximetry commonly are monitored. These parameters do not reliably identify airway and ventilation compromise. Capnography measures exhaled carbon dioxide and provides early identification of airway obstruction and hypoventilation. Capnography is useful in patients receiving supplemental oxygen. In these patients, oxygen desaturation reported by pulse oximetry may lag during episodes of respiratory depression and apnea. Capnography indicates partial pressure of end-tidal carbon dioxide and provides information regarding airway integrity and patterns of ventilation compromise. Implementation of this technology may provide an additional layer of safety, reducing risk of respiratory compromise in patients receiving procedural sedation.

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