Evaluation Background: Monitors for Detecting Respiratory Depression—Recommended for Patients on Opioids

November 4, 2020 | Evaluations & Guidance


Here's background for our Evaluations of monitors for detecting respiratory depression, outlining the key considerations for making wise purchasing decisions. Learn how the technology is used, which specs are important, and what factors we test for.

Monitors used for detecting respiratory depression assess the adequacy of ventilation and alarm for incipient respiratory depression. They are primarily used on low-acuity, postoperative patients who are receiving parenteral and neuraxial opioids for pain management. They are also used to monitor patients during procedural sedation procedures for which sedatives or dissociative agents are administered with or without analgesics.

Monitoring of these patients is being recommended by:

  1. The Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF), which initially proposed changes for monitoring patients at risk for opioid-induced respiratory depression in 2011, and more recently published The Role of Capnography to Prevent Postoperative Respiratory Adverse Events.

  2. The Joint Commission, in [Sentinel Event...

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