Our objective was to assess within a feasibility study the correlation and agreement of transcutaneous carbon dioxide (PtcCO2) monitoring with venous carbon dioxide (PvCO2) in infants with bronchiolitis in the emergency room (ER) and pediatric department. Sixty infants (aged 3.6 ± 3.3 months) admitted to our ER with bronchiolitis were included. PtcCO2 measurements (SenTec Digital Monitoring System) collected prospectively were compared with simultaneous PvCO2 drawn for patient care. Analysis included 100 measurements. The correlation of PtcCO2 and PvCO2 (r = 0.71, p < 0.001) was good, and the agreement (mean difference ± standard deviation of the differences 1.9 ± 7.0 mmHg) was adequate; average PtcCO2 was slightly lower than PvCO2. Changes in PtcCO2 and PvCO2 for consecutive measurements within each patient correlated (r = 0.41, p < 0.01). The level of PtcCO2 correlated with disease severity clinical score (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: PtcCO2 monitoring was feasible in the ER and pediatric department and was found to have a good correlation and adequate agreement with PvCO2 in infants with bronchiolitis. Because the standard deviation of the differences was relatively high, though comparable to the literature, we suggest that PtcCO2 should not replace blood gas but rather serve as a complementary tool for trending and for real-time continuous assessment of the CO2 levels.