Random Thing I Learned about Low CO2

by Andria RN · 1 comment

in ICU,Uncategorized

This is very random, but last night I learned something new.  When your patient in on a ventilator and their CO2 levels are running low, one of the options to help normalize CO2 levels (besides decreasing the respiratory rate) is to add DEAD SPACE to the ventilator circuit.  The order in the chart literally read “add dead space to ventilator tubing.”  Then Respiratory Therapy added 50cc of vent tubing where the ETT connects to the ventilator circuit.  Very strange!  This had been done a few days before my shift so when her CO2 levels returned to normal- the doctor gave me a TORB to disconnect the dead space!  I had to look it up…

What this does is allow the exhaled CO2 to become trapped in the extra tubing and then it is more likely to be inhaled back in with the patient’s next breath.  Crazy right?  Well it worked for my patient.  Just wanted to share…

  • Ryan

    I’ll need to remember that :)

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