The tubing on your face is connected to a device that monitors your breathing. If your physician has prescribed breath monitoring, it is important that you wear the tubing.
Your physician may have prescribed breath monitoring because of concerns about your breathing. Some medications can slow your breathing and heart rate. Breath monitoring alerts clinicians to changes in your breathing that may be an early sign of a serious respiratory problem.
Remember, the breath monitor is designed to alert your clinicians to early indications of a change in your breathing, so it is very important that you keep the nasal prongs inside your nose and keep the round “scoop” in front of your mouth so the breath monitoring system can do its job.
Respiratory complications can result from sedatives and/or pain medication. Therefore, breath monitoring is important, especially when you are medicated.
Complications with your breathing can impact your healing and recovery. If a serious respiratory condition occurs and goes untreated, it can result in the need for intubation. Untreated respiratory conditions can also lead to brain damage or even death.
Professional medical organizations and societies recommend breath monitoring for patients like you, who may be at risk of breathing problems. Some examples include:
Patient information on capnography monitoring is also available.
You should not remove the tubing from your face until your physician decides you don’t need your breathing monitored any longer. A clinician will help you remove the tubing from your face.
If you are a family member or friend of a patient on a breath monitor, it is important for you to make sure the patient understands that it is important to wear the tubing.
A sample of every exhaled breath is sent to the device where your carbon dioxide level (CO2) is continually measured and analyzed. The monitor alarm notifies clinicians if your breathing becomes too fast or too slow.
The monitor analyzes the amount and quality of each breath to understand if you are taking proper, healthy breaths. If your breathing becomes too shallow, slows down, or increases too quickly, an alarm on the monitor alerts clinicians to the change. Sometimes if an alarm sounds, it may just mean that you need to take a deep breath.
MicrostreamTM capnography monitoring combines four important respiratory measurements into a single number on a scale from 1-10, called the Integrated Pulmonary IndexTM algorithm (IPI). The IPI number includes measurements for the level of carbon dioxide in your lungs, your pulse oxygenation, pulse rate and respiration rate. It gives clinicians an indication of your overall respiratory status.
It is up to a qualified clinician to interpret the IPI status numbers as shown in the chart, but if you see the IPI number falling quickly, please alert a clinician.
Within normal range
Close to normal range; requires attention
Requires attention and may require intervention
Requires immediate intervention
Why do I need my breathing monitored?
Some medications can slow down breathing and heart rate. Breath monitoring alerts clinicians to changes in breathing that could be an early indication of something more serious.
Why is there tubing clipped to my nose and a scoop in front of my mouth?
The tubing on your face sends samples of your breath to the monitor from both your nose and mouth.
Why does the monitor alarm?
The alarm alerts clinicians to a change in your breathing. Alarms can also serve as a reminder that you should take a few deep breaths.
Can I drink liquids or eat while being monitored?
Your physician will let you know if you can drink or eat. Routine activity, like sipping water or eating ice chips, does not interfere with breath monitoring.
How long do I need to wear the tubing on my face?
Generally, you are monitored until your physician believes there is no longer a risk that your breathing is impacted by your condition or by the medication you have been given.