Interpretation of Individual Waveforms

Interpretation of Individual Waveforms

There is a lot to be learned from the capnograph and several cases are investigated in this video.

A normal capnograph has become a “gold standard” for confirming the correct placement of an endotracheal tube.

It is important to recognize that immediately following the intubation, the partial pressure of CO2 may be relatively high -but that this can be normalized with appropriate management of ventilation.

The DOPE mnemonic is discussed:

D – displacement

O – obstruction

P – pneumothorax

E – equipment failure.

Excessive carbon dioxide in the blood is hypercapnia and can be corrected by increasing the ventilatory rate.


Too little carbon dioxide in the blood is called hypocapnia and is corrected by decreasing the respiratory rate.


There are a couple of ways that capnography is useful in the management of cardiac arrest:

the partial pressure of CO2 can be used to measure the efficacy of chest compressions

And, a sudden increase in the partial pressure of CO2 can be indicative of a return of spontaneous circulation.


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