Health professionals administering sedation or anesthesia obtain quantitative data from safety monitoring devices
such as the pulse oximeter and/or the capnograph,
but lack the ability to detect the causes of airway
obstruction before respiratory distress sets in.
The Sedation Stethoscope affords the anesthetist
the ability to be simultaneously in sync with both
the medical procedure at hand and the detection
of a potential respiratory complication at any
The Sedation Stethoscope provides the anesthetist with qualitative information that enables the medical professional to:
1) Pre-emptively detect, through auditory means, the cause of a respiratory compromise and to make the appropriate adjustments before evidence of hypoxia or a respiratory compromise ever shows up in blood chemistry (e.g. pulse oximetry or capnograph).
2) Make the correct initial diagnosis as to the cause of a respiratory compromise and to immediately administer the appropriate treatment. Diagnosing the cause of respiratory compromise can be difficult and treating the wrong cause can result in more harm to the patient.
> Methemoglobinemia: Disorder characterized by a higher than normal presence of methemoglobin cells in the blood. This form of hemoglobin cannot bind to oxygen. Causes can be congenital or acquired and can include local anesthetics, various medications, toxins or food additives such as dyes or nitirites.
> Carboxyhemoglobinemia: The presence of carboxyhemoglobin in the blood. Causes include smoking and general exposure to carbon monoxide.
> Anemia: Hemoglobins in blood are filled with oxygen (resulting in high oximeter reading), but there is not enough hemoglobin to carry the needed oxygen to body tissues.
> Dark skin pigmentation: Pulse oximeter technology will overestimate oxygen concentration at low saturations on patients with darker skin pigmentation.
> Poor perfusion states: Pulse oximetry is ineffective with poor perfusion states such as shock, hypothermia or vasoconstriction.
THE VALUE OF QUALITATIVE INFORMATION
There are several medical conditions that can mask hypoxia or a respiratory compromise with pulse oximeter technology that may be detectable with the use of a Sedation Stethoscope. They include:
ADDRESS PULSE OXIMETRY "BLIND SPOTS"
Capnography is a technology that relies on monitoring expired concentrations of CO2 using infrared spectrophotometry. Patient movements and physiological functions (mucus for example) can interfere with accurate readings. This is particulary true with sedation as opposed to general anesthesia patients. More specifically:
> Sensors can clog up with nasal secretions (particularly with pediatric patients).
> Nasal canula may get displaced during conscious sedation (uncooperative patients being most susceptible).
> Mouth breathing (caused by nasal congestion, allergies, congenital defects, etc.) reduces the accurate
detection of expired air.
> Carbon dioxide readings are inaccurate during either rapid or shallow breathing, hypothermia or with a
reduced metabolism state (causes include a thyroid hormone imbalance, chronic dieting and leptin resistance
in overweight individuals).