The transcutaneous carbon dioxide monitor allows continuous non-invasive measurement of blood gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide levels) for long periods of time, negating the need for repeated invasive blood gases. It is a heated sensor which attaches to the patients’ ear and measures the blood gases through diffusion.
In a lung function setting we would use the monitor during fitness to fly assessments to see whether patients retain carbon dioxide whilst breathing the hypoxic mixture and titrating supplemental oxygen. This is not currently possible without repeated invasive blood gases which the patient often refuses.
This piece of equipment will also allow us to monitor the patients’ blood gases during sleep to see whether ventilator settings and oxygen titration is set an optimum level and allow us to get the patients home quicker with non-invasive ventilation (NIV). This will allow the patient to be managed remotely, from home, requiring less hospital visits.
- In the last twelve months 36 fitness to fly assessments have been performed at Basingstoke Hospital and from a recent service audit of the use of NIV for patients with respiratory disease that in the same time period approximately 42 patients would have benefited from use of the transcutaneous CO2 monitor at night, with potentially 14 patients being discharged home with the NIV for chronic long term use.
- This will ensure more accurate oxygen prescription for air travel and safer air travel for patients with respiratory disease. Earlier identification of patients requiring chronic NIV will allow earlier discharge and prevent readmissions saving bed days for the Trust.