Landmark UK Study Recommends Capnography to Reduce Deaths in ICUs and EDs

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Study concludes that use of capnography can significantly reduce patient deaths and brain damage from serious airway problems in intensive care units

Oridion (SIX Swiss Exchange: ORIDN), creator of the Smart Capnography™ family of decision support tools for the monitoring of effective ventilation, today heralded a landmark British study concluding that the use of capnography can significantly reduce patient deaths and brain damage from serious airway problems in intensive care units (ICUs).

Among the major findings of the year-long prospective study by the Royal College of Anaesthetists (RCoA) and the Difficult Airway Society, which was published online and in two parts in the British Journal of Anaesthesia on March 30, 2011:

  •      The absence of capnography (the continuous monitoring of exhaled carbon dioxide) contributed to an alarming 74% of airway-related deaths reported from ICUs.
  •     The use of capnography would have identified problems at an earlier stage and prevented at least some of the deaths.
  •     Correct use and interpretation of capnography would have prevented half of the deaths in the ED.

As a result, the authors recommend the use of capnography for all intubated patients in ICU units. Dr. Tim Cook, a consultant in Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the Royal United Hospital, Bath, UK, and one of the report authors, states in a press release issued March 30 by the RCoA: “The single most important change that would save lives is the use of a simple breathing monitor, which would have identified or prevented most of the events that were reported. We recommend that a capnograph is used for all patients receiving help with breathing on ICU; current evidence suggests it is used for only a quarter of such patients. Greater use of this device will save lives.”

Gerry Feldman, President of Oridion Capnography Inc., lauded the study as one of the most valuable to date on the role of capnography in saving lives and improving patient safety. “This landmark study is a significant addition to the growing body of evidence establishing capnography as the standard of care for patient ventilation monitoring,” said Mr. Feldman. “Adherence to the study’s recommendations for use of capnography can have a profound impact worldwide in preventing deaths and serious complications resulting from undetected respiratory depression.”

As the earliest, most accurate indicator of respiratory distress, capnography alerts clinicians to potential problems sooner than pulse oximetry (SpO2) or respiratory rate (RR). Because it accurately samples through supplemental oxygen, capnography is a robust measurement in the critical care environment where supplemental oxygen is virtually universal. Adding capnography to SpO2 and RR measurement provides a complete picture of ventilation, enabling lives to be saved. As a result, leading patient safety organizations worldwide recommend that patients be monitored with capnography during anesthesia and the use of opioids.

The study authors noted that the capnograph is used almost universally in anesthesia, but in the UK, only sporadically in ICUs and Emergency Departments, where at least one-quarter of major complications of airway management in hospitals are likely to occur. These complications are more likely to lead to permanent harm or death than events in anesthesia.

The study, which identified that 2.9 million general anesthetics are given in the UK each year, monitored all major complications of airway management that occurred in ICUs and emergency departments throughout the UK in 2008-2009. The project studied only events serious enough to lead to death, brain damage, ICU admission, or urgent insertion of a breathing tube in the front of the neck.

Other major findings:

  •     Obese patients are twice as likely as non-obese patients to develop serious airway problems during a general anesthetic.
  •     Airway problems were more likely to result in death in patients sedated on ICUs (50%) than if they occurred during anesthesia for surgery (12%).
  •     Of the events reported from ICUs, 61% led to death or brain damage, compared to 14% of events during anesthesia.

Authors also noted the potential value of increased use of capnography in the recovery phase after surgical anesthesia. Reviewers judged that the use of capnography in recovery (and its appropriate interpretation) would have led to earlier identification of airway obstruction. The report recommends the use of capnography in ICU for intubation of all critically ill patients and in all patients with tracheal tubes who are intubated and ventilator-dependent. While the report focuses on potential improvements in the ICU, it also recommends use of capnography in the Emergency Department for all intubated and anesthetized patients.

For further Oridion information please contact:
Alan Adler, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Walter Tabachnik, Chief Financial Officer
Elena Gerberg, Investor Relations
e-mail: info(at)oridion(dot)com
phone: +972 2 589 9159
address: Oridion Systems Ltd., P.O. Box 45025, 91450 Jerusalem, Israel

About Oridion
Oridion Systems Ltd. ( is a global medical device company specializing in patient safety monitoring. The Company operates through wholly owned subsidiaries in the United States and Israel.

Oridion develops proprietary medical devices and patient interfaces, based on its patented Microstream® technologies, for the enhancement of patient safety through the monitoring of the carbon dioxide (CO2) in a patient’s breath. These products provide effective and proven airway management and are used in various clinical environments, including procedural sedation, pain management, critical care units, post-anesthesia care units, emergency medical services, transport, alternate care and other settings where patients’ ventilation may be compromised and at risk.

Certain statements made herein that are not historical are forward-looking. The words "estimate," "project," "intend," "expect," "believe," and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties. Many factors could cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements that may be expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including, among others, our ability to maintain profits, the market demands for our Capnography products, our ability to focus our team on the Capnography business, changes in general economic and business conditions, inability to maintain market acceptance to the Company's products, inability to timely develop and introduce new technologies, products and applications, rapid changes in the market for the Company's products, loss of market share and pressure on prices resulting from competition, introduction of competing products by other companies, inability to manage growth and expansion, loss of key OEM partners, inability to attract and retain qualified personnel, inability to protect the Company's proprietary technology. The Company does not assure any obligation to update the forward looking information contained in this press release.

1 Major complications of airway management in the UK: results of the 4th National Audit Project of the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Difficult Airway Society. Part 1 Anaesthesia.” British Journal of Anaesthesia. doi:10.1093/bja/aer058 (BJA Advance Access published March 29, 2011 accessed 4/4/2011 at

2 Major complications of airway management in the UK: results of the 4th National Audit Project of the Royal College of Anaesthetists and the Difficult Airway Society. Part 2 Intensive Care and Emergency Departments. British Journal of Anaesthesia. doi:10.1093/bja/aer059 (BJA Advance Access published March 29, 2011 accessed 4/4/2011 at


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Dean Ouellette