Changes in patient populations, along with economic and practical considerations, have led to an overall increase in patient acuity on the general care floor (GCF). Despite the presence of higher risk patients, current GCF surveillance is often limited to isolated spot checks of core vital signs, such as heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure and temperature, with such observations often limited to every 4 hours, which leaves patients unmonitored 96% of the time. 1 Therefore, these patients may be placed at increased risk for respiratory compromise.
Changes in respiratory vital signs that accompany respiratory compromise often precede in-hospital deterioration and are associated with increased mortality due to the high likelihood of decompensation into respiratory insufficiency and failure, as well as respiratory arrest. 2,3,4,5
Moreover, many in-hospital declines may be preventable with better respiratory monitoring and early intervention.6,7,8 Continuous monitoring of respiratory function and patient evaluation for respiratory insufficiency, arrest and failure can alert medical professionals to conditions which could lead to adverse events. Therefore, implementing better strategies for prevention, monitoring for and management of respiratory abnormalities in patients could lead to improved patient outcomes and decreased costs.
1. Weinger, M. B., & Lee, L. A. No Patient Shall Be Harmed By Opioid-Induced Respiratory Depression. APSF Newsletter. 2011;26(2):21.
2. Respiratory Compromise Insitute. http://www.respiratorycompromise.org/. 2017
3. Barfod, C., Lauritzen, M. M., Danker, J. K., et al. Abnormal vital signs are strong predictors for intensive care unit admission and in-hospital mortality in adults triaged in the emergency department - a prospective cohort study. Scand J Trauma Resusc Emerg Med. 2012;20:28.
4. Buist, M., Bernard, S., Nguyen, T. V., Moore, G., & Anderson, J. Association between clinically abnormal observations and subsequent in-hospital mortality: a prospective study. Resuscitation. 2004;62(2):137-141.
5. Chaboyer, W., Thalib, L., Foster, M., Ball, C., & Richards, B. Predictors of adverse events in patients after discharge from the intensive care unit. Am J Crit Care. 2008;17(3):255-263; quiz 264.
6. Lee, L. A., Caplan, R. A., Stephens, L. S., et al. Postoperative opioid-induced respiratory depression: a closed claims analysis. Anesthesiology. 2015;122(3):659-665.
7. Quach, J. L., Downey, A. W., Haase, M., Haase-Fielitz, A., Jones, D., & Bellomo, R. Characteristics and outcomes of patients receiving a medical emergency team review for respiratory distress or hypotension. J Crit Care. 2008;23(3):325-331.
8. Taenzer, A. H., Pyke, J. B., McGrath, S. P., & Blike, G. T. Impact of pulse oximetry surveillance on rescue events and intensive care unit transfers: a before-and-after concurrence study. Anesthesiology. 2010;112(2):282-287.
9. Wang, H. E., Abella, B. S., & Callaway, C. W. Risk of cardiopulmonary arrest after acute respiratory compromise in hospitalized patients. Resuscitation. 2008;79(2):234-240.
10. Overdyk, F. J., Carter, R., Maddox, R. R., Callura, J., Herrin, A. E., & Henriquez, C. Continuous oximetry/capnometry monitoring reveals frequent desaturation and bradypnea during patient-controlled analgesia. Anesth Analg. 2007;105(2):412-418.
11. Quach, J. L., Downey, A. W., Haase, M., Haase-Fielitz, A., Jones, D., & Bellomo, R. Characteristics and outcomes of patients receiving a medical emergency team review for respiratory distress or hypotension. J Crit Care. 2008;23(3):325-331.
12. Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation. Essential Monitoring Strategies to Detect Clinically Significant Drug-Induced Respiratory Depression in the Postoperative Period. Conclusions and Recommendations. https://www.apsf.org/announcements.php?id=7. 2011.
13. ASA Standards for Basic Anesthetic Monitoring, Committee of Origin: Standards and Practice Parameters (Approved by the ASA House of Delegates on October 21, 1986, and last amended on October 20, 2010 with an effective date of July 1, 2011) - Viewed 3-21-11 at http://www.asahq.org/sitecore%20modules/web/~/media/modules/digital%20briefcase%20apps/asa%20practice%20management/standards%20guidelines%20statements/anesthesia%20care/standards-for-basic-anesthetic-monitoring.pdf.
14. Jarzyna, D., Jungquist, C. R., Pasero, C., et al. American Society for Pain Management Nursing guidelines on monitoring for opioid-induced sedation and respiratory depression. Pain Manag Nurs. 2011;12(3):118-145 e110.
15. The Joint Commission. Safe use of opioids in hospitals. Sentinel Event Alert. 2012;849(8):1-5.
16. Cacho, G., Perez-Calle, J. L., Barbado, A., Lledo, J. L., Ojea, R., & Fernandez-Rodriguez, C. M. Capnography is superior to pulse oximetry for the detection of respiratory depression during colonoscopy. Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 2010;102(2):86-89.
17. Maddox, R. R., Oglesby, H., Williams, C. K., Fields, M., & Danello, S. (2008). Continuous Respiratory Monitoring and a "Smart" Infusion System Improve Safety of Patient-Controlled Analgesia in the Postoperative Period.
18. Overdyk, F. J., Carter, R., Maddox, R. R., Callura, J., Herrin, A. E., & Henriquez, C. Continuous oximetry/capnometry monitoring reveals frequent desaturation and bradypnea during patient-controlled analgesia. Anesth Analg. 2007;105(2):412-418.