Researchers have found that every 5 mmHg increase of blood CO2 levels is associated with a higher risk of death. Even for patients with normal pH levels, a state of hypercapnia (high CO2 levels) still poses a higher risk for mortality.
Why is a medical blood CO2 monitoring system important? Sometimes physicians and patients only look toward blood pH levels as one indicator of health. With in-depth CO2 monitoring, you can better understand someone’s overall health and wellness.
If you want to learn more about a CO2 monitoring system and why it is helpful, then keep reading on.
Blood CO2 Levels
What exactly are CO2 levels, and why are they important to a healthcare system? CO2 is the abbreviated term for carbon dioxide. Hypercapnia is the term used when there are above normal levels of CO2 found in the bloodstream.
With each breath you take, you breathe in oxygen. CO2 is commonly found as a left-over product of food and other energy breakdowns in your body. When your lungs and diaphragm are working properly, CO2 is expelled as you exhale.
Bicarbonate tests measure the level of CO2 in someone’s bloodstream. Normal levels are around 23 to 29 mmol/L. The term mmol/L means millimoles in a liter and is the standardized measurement for CO2 levels.
CO2 levels in the bloodstream that are outside of the normal range pose a variety of health risks that require medical attention. For instance, if your levels are too low, then it can indicate kidney disease, aspirin overdose, or Addison’s disease, to name a few.
Higher levels of CO2, or hypercapnia, are indicative of COPD, anorexia, dehydration, or Cushing’s syndrome. CO2 levels are usually regularly checked for individuals who already suffer from various lung diseases.
However, other signs that someone might need CO2 levels checked are for consistent vomiting, difficulty breathing, and extreme weakness or fatigue.
How are CO2 levels checked? Typically, a qualified healthcare professional checks CO2 levels through a blood draw from a vein or artery. Bicarbonate levels, which are common leftover products of carbon dioxide, are typically detected through venous blood draws.
If a physician is wanting a better understanding of particle pressures, then they will opt to draw from an artery. Both blood tests give practitioners measurements of oxygenation levels. Normally, these blood tests also include other tests outside of CO2 testing.
It is likely that your physician will also order a test for your sodium, chloride, and potassium levels. These three substances are common electrolytes found in the body that work together to maintain homeostasis.
They are crucial for the health of your heart, muscles, and neurological status. Additionally, abnormal electrolyte levels can indicate problems with someone’s kidneys.
Electrolytes also act to balance the acids and bases in your bloodstream. CO2 acts as an acid and higher levels of CO2 change the pH levels of your blood. An electrolyte blood test alerts a physician to whether someone has metabolic acidosis or metabolic alkalosis.
The regulation of the acidity in your blood is also controlled by your lungs. The lungs determine how much CO2 leaves the body and help control the acidity levels in your bloodstream.
Capnography is a medical device that monitors blood CO2 levels. A CO2 medical monitor can even track blood pressure, oxygen saturation levels, and temperature.
It is common to see end tidal CO2 monitoring that monitors the maximum partial pressure of CO2 during end exhalation. Capnography is useful because it tracks more accurate oxygen saturation levels and gives healthcare practitioners an idea of someone’s risk for various diseases.
For someone who deals with lung diseases, a portable CO2 monitor can act as a daily tracker for the progression or regression of the disease. Compared to finger pulse oximeters, these monitors track ventilation, circulation, and metabolism.
End Tidal Capnography
End-tidal capnography machines work slightly differently. They track the maximum amount of exhaled CO2. The normal levels of maximum exhaled CO2 levels should be between 35 and 45 mmHg.
Most capnographs track four different stages of exhalation and concurrent CO2 levels.
- In stage 1, someone begins to exhale and there is virtually no CO2 monitored.
- During stage 2, CO2 begins to enter the upper airway and reaches the detection stage.
- Once in stage 3, CO2 levels are more consistently monitored as it ascends into the nose and mouth. The final stage indicates the end of exhalation and the beginning of inhalation. This stage is otherwise known as end-tidal levels.
End-tidal capnography machines are advised for several different types of diagnoses and procedures including:
- Before anesthesia
- Mechanical ventilation
- Various lung and heart diseases
- Sleep studies
- Insertion of an endotracheal tube
Medical CO2 Monitoring System
While CO2 monitoring systems have been used since the 1950s, they didn’t start gaining popularity and use until the 1980s. Physicians are now using them in a variety of settings, including in-home use and through the emergency department.
These systems are especially crucial for monitoring lung diseases that obstruct the airway. In patients who have COPD flare-ups, the CO2 levels are often higher than normal.
Pulmonary embolism is also a life-threatening condition that CO2 monitors help detect. During this condition, end-tidal CO2 levels abnormally decrease. Heart failure and other conditions can also benefit from CO2 monitoring systems.
Heart failure is sometimes difficult to diagnose. It is often misdiagnosed as a type of lung disease or is difficult to differentiate if a patient has multiple co-morbidities.
Researchers found that it was common to see end-tidal CO2 levels above 37 mmHg in patients who had COPD. Yet, in patients with heart failure, the end-tidal CO2 levels were less than 37 mmHg. These objective guidelines give health care providers a better idea of what health condition they are dealing with.
Patient Monitoring Systems
A CO2 monitoring system tracks health information that is used for more accurate diagnoses and treatment plans. If you are looking for the best CO2 monitor, then look no further.
A reliable CO2 monitoring system can be a life-saving tool for many patients. Contact us today and let one of our skilled and qualified employees help you determine what medical devices and equipment your facility needs.