Transcutaneous PCO2 monitors are more accurate than end-tidal PCO2 monitors

J Anesth. 2009;23(2):198-202. doi: 10.1007/s00540-008-0734-z. Epub 2009 May 15.


Purpose: The accuracy of monitors for measuring transcutaneous PCO2 (TcPCO2), end-tidal PCO2 (EtPCO2), and nasal EtPCO2 was evaluated.

Methods: The measuring devices included a TcPCO2 monitor (TCM3; Radiometer Trading), an EtPCO2 monitor (Ultima; Datex-Ohmeda), and a nasal EtPCO2 monitor (TG-920P; Nihon Kohden). The sensor electrode of the TCM3 TcPCO2 monitor was applied to the skin of the subject's upper arm. A sampling tube attached to the proximal end of the tracheal tube was connected to the Ultima EtPCO2 monitor. The miniature sensor of the TG-920P nasal EtPCO2 monitor was attached to the nostril. The values obtained were compared with direct measurements of arterial PCO2 (PaCO2) obtained by means of an ABL700 blood gas analyzer (Radiometer Trading) in surgically treated patients. The means +/- 2 SD of the differences between variables were calculated.

Results: The TcPCO2 monitor (0.19 +/- 4.8 mmHg, mean +/- 2-SD) was more accurate than the EtPCO2 monitor (-4.4 +/- 6.5 mmHg, mean +/- 2-SD) in patients receiving artificial ventilation via an endotracheal tube and the TcPCO2 monitor was also more accurate than the nasal EtPCO2 monitor (-6.3 +/- 9.8 mmHg, bias +/- 2-SD) in patients breathing spontaneously.

Conclusion: We found that the TcPCO2 monitor was more accurate than the EtPCO2 or nasal EtPCO2 monitor in surgically treated patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Gas Analysis / methods*
  • Blood Gas Monitoring, Transcutaneous / methods*
  • Calibration
  • Carbon Dioxide / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monitoring, Intraoperative
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Respiration, Artificial
  • Respiratory Mechanics


  • Carbon Dioxide