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Measuring CO2 in Exhaled Breath to Help Save Lives

Capnography is the measuring and monitoring of the carbon dioxide levels in exhaled breath. In healthy individuals, the difference between the CO2 exhaled and CO2 levels in arterial blood are proportional. Therefore, by monitoring the waveform of CO2 levels on a capnogram (an electronic capnography monitor) over time, medical personnel like anesthesiologists or paramedics can use the information to monitor a patient. Sudden changes in end-tidal CO2 (ETCO2, the level of carbon dioxide released at the end of expiration) may signify changes in a patient’s heart or lung functions.

Non-dispersive infra-red (NDIR) CO2 sensors are at the heart of virtually every capnogram. Their small size and relatively fast response time make them perfect for portable devices.

For example, our SprintIR 20Hz CO2 sensor has set a new benchmark as the fastest, most accurate CO2 sensor on the market. Capable of taking up to 20 readings per second, it is up to 10 times as fast as competing products. Medical equipment manufacturers worldwide are evaluating this sensor to use in their next generation of products.

And while capnograms are used by anesthesiologists and EMS personnel today, even more exciting uses as clinical evaluation tools are being tested. Capnography may help to test for asthma, heart failure, diabetes, and more.

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