Last year we told you about ExSpiron, a continuous minute ventilation monitor developed by Respiratory Motion Inc., a company out of Waltham, MA. The ExSpiron respiratory monitoring system is the first to provide continuous, non-invasive minute ventilation data in non-ventilated patients. The technology continuously and noninvasively measures lung volume against time, generating quantitative metrics for minute ventilation (the amount of air that enters/leaves the lungs every minute), respiratory rate (breaths per minute), and tidal volume (the volume of air in a single breath). This is important because unlike other vital functions, quantitative data on these parameters has not been previously available to physicians outside the operating room. Typical practice has been to count patient breaths occasionally and utilize oxygen saturation monitors that notify clinicians only after breathing has deteriorated.
Such practice can be dangerous, particularly post-operatively. Just this past week, a perspectives piece in the New England Journal of Medicine noted the risks of post-surgery adverse events associated with sleep apnea and called for special protocols in this population. Other patients at risk of post-op or ICU respiratory compromise include the elderly and obese.
Now, new data from studies conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital, Tufts Medical Center and The University of Vermont show that the ExSpiron is able to report dangerous decreases in respiration following narcotic administration in both cardiac and orthopedic surgery patients. According to Respiratory Motion’s press release:
“We have never before been able to quantify the influence of pain agents on the respiratorysystem with such fidelity,” reported Gary Mullen, M.D., a practicing anesthesiologist at Vidant Medical Center and a study author. “ This new information will enable us to alter care and potentially avoid respiratory distress well before current technologies would signal a problem.”
Monitoring the respiratory status of patients after opioid administration is challenging, in particular with obese and elderly patient populations. This novel method of providing minute ventilation data, previously only available on ventilated patients, is consistently proving to be valuable by helping clinicians quantify respiration in a variety of clinical settings.
This data will be reported at the American Society of Anesthesiology conference to be held in San Francisco October 12th-15th, 2013.
Special article in Anesthesia and Analgesia: Evaluation of a Novel Noninvasive Respiration Monitor Providing Continuous Measurement of Minute Ventilation in Ambulatory Subjects in a Variety of Clinical Scenarios