Welch Allyn adds gold-standard CO2 monitoring to Connex vital signs monitor

Updated product maximises investment as well as increasing efficiency and flexibility

With mounting evidence suggesting that routine CO2 monitoring in seriously-ill patients can be, quite literally, a lifesaver, Welch Allyn has unveiled what the company describes as a ‘gold’standard product’ - a completely-updated version of its Connex Vital Signs Monitor (CVSM), which now automatically monitors carbon dioxide levels in exhaled breath in addition to the normal vital signs.

Changing CO2 levels can indicate problems with a patient’s ventilation, circulation and metabolism. By capturing and recording early signs of potentially life-threatening patient deterioration at the bedside, the new CVSM gives clinicians the earliest possible warning of potential issues.

The CVSM represents a huge advance by allowing CO2 levels to be incorporated as part of the vital signs monitoring process, allowing it to become a routine part of patient care

The result can be improved levels of patient care and quicker recovery times which, in turn, can help to reduce mortality rates and length of hospital stay.

Yielding substantial savings, with a theoretical return on investment of less than 18 months, the new unit also delivers exceptional value for money - a priority given current healthcare budgetary constraints.

The CVSM system features two monitoring options; acoustic respiration from Masimo, Microstream and end-tidal carbon dioxide technology from Covidien.

Featuring easy-to-understand and interpret data display and recording, the Welch Allyn CVSM is also extremely reliable.

Optional remote monitoring using the Connex Surveillance System allows medical staff to view the status of up to 48 patients at a glance, while multiple central stations can be networked together for added surveillance. It also helps clinicians to respond to remote alarm notifications and view vital signs and continuous respiratory data in a single patient record.

“It gives overstretched healthcare professionals the flexibility to be kept informed of high-risk patients wherever they are, enabling them not only to anticipate a patient’s deterioration, but have advance warning of a new condition,’ says Jan McMeekin, country manager at Welch Allyn.

CO2 monitoring is widely used in emergency medicine to determine the success of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and indicate successful endotracheal intubation. Though in widespread use in the US for high-risk patients on wards or after surgery, CO2 monitoring, particularly when it comes to patient surveillance, has yet to gain widespread acceptance in the UK, where it is currently a standard requirement only for critically-ill patients during transit.

It gives overstretched healthcare professionals the flexibility to be kept informed of high-risk patients wherever they are, enabling them not only to anticipate a patient’s deterioration, but have advance warning of a new condition

Instead, many of the country’s hospitals continue to rely on ECG readings alone to detect patient deterioration. While essential in cardiac patients, there are instances where additional CO2 monitoring could help to prevent heart attacks. Whereas nursing staff require training to interpret ECGs, an alarm from respiratory monitoring cannot be missed; making it a much more-robust way of ensuring patient safety.

The biggest potential use of CO2 monitoring, however, lies outside intensive care units. With avoidable harm a bigger than ever focus within the NHS, there is a growing need for pro-active ways of monitoring patients who have been moved to general wards, but are receiving pain relief or suffer from co-morbidities such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and obstructive sleep apnoea, factors that can put them at higher risk of respiratory deterioration and life-threatening events.

“Welch Allyn has built its worldwide reputation, stretching back almost a century by introducing products that are game-changers,” said McMeekin.

“We believe the CVSM is one of these. Failure to rescue deteriorating patients continues to be an area of significant unintended harm. The CVSM represents a huge advance by allowing CO2 levels to be incorporated as part of the vital signs monitoring process, allowing it to become a routine part of patient care.”

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