Objective: Due to the growing number of diagnostic and therapeutical procedures intensive-care patients must be transported intra- and interhospitally more often. These transports are among the most critical events during intensive-care therapy, with a high incidence of potentially life-threatening mishaps . The aim of this study was to evaluate the possible benefit of the combined application of pulse oximetry and capnometry for patient safety during transport.
Methods: In a prospective clinical study 48 mechanically ventilated patients were allocated at random in 2 main study groups, 24 patients were investigated during interhospital transportation with an ambulance car, the other 24 patients during intrahospital transports. They were classified according to APACHE II and TISS. Blood pressure, heart rate and arterial blood gases were measured at eleven selected times. Twelve randomly chosen patients out of each main study group were monitored additionally with pulse oximetry and capnometry. The results were compared using the Mann-Whitney-U test. P < or = 0.05 was considered significant.
Results: Thirty-four patients had a TISS more than 40. The mean APACHE II-Score was 14 +/- 5. The overall incidence of potentially life-threatening mishaps was 9. Six out of these 9 occurred in the 24 patients with additional monitoring and were immediately detected by pulse oximetry or capnometry.
Conclusions: The combination of pulse oximetry and capnometry offers the possibility to detect potentially life-threatening problems in ventilated patients during transport. This allows for early therapeutical consequences and may help to reduce the risk of transports.