TERRE HAUTE, Ind., June 25, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Terre Haute Regional Hospital recently expanded its use of capnography for respiratory monitoring outside the operating room, joining a growing group of healthcare leaders in embracing state-of-the-art patient safety technology. Capnographs measure the amount of carbon dioxide exhaled by patients, thereby allowing patient care providers to rapidly detect changes in patient condition, and take immediate corrective action. Long used in operating rooms to monitor patients under general anesthesia, hospitals committed to patient safety are now deploying capnography to monitor the quality of patients' breathing in other care areas where respiratory depression may occur. Among the latest clinical applications for capnography are for monitoring patients receiving patient-controlled analgesia (PCA) for pain control after surgery. PCA pumps have proven effective in controlling pain and allowing patients to be discharged from the hospital more quickly, but the technology poses unique risks for patients because the pumps inject opioids which can cause respiratory depression. If undetected, respiratory depression can lead to significant injury or even death. By measuring the amount of exhaled carbon dioxide, capnography provides the earliest and most accurate indication of respiratory compromise, thus significantly reducing patient risk. The Joint Commission, the nation's leading hospital accreditation organization; the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) have all recommended monitoring exhaled carbon dioxide with capnography to detect respiratory depression. Terre Haute Regional Hospital is among the nation's leaders in the early implementation of capnography monitoring outside of the operating room. "Terre Haute Regional Medical is committed to providing the highest quality of care. Our widespread use of capnography to monitor the adequacy of ventilation of patients outside the operating room is in line with the latest recommendations and underscores our dedication to patient safety," said Leah Cygan, RRT, MHA, Director of Respiratory Care at THRH. Terre Haute Regional Hospital chose capnography equipment from Covidien, a leading global provider of healthcare products and recognized innovator in patient monitoring and respiratory care devices.