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Types of Capnographs

Types of Capnographs


Main-stream capnographs

Side-stream capnographs

Side-stream CO2


CO2 sensor located between endotracheal tube and breathing circuit

Sensor is located in the main unit and CO2 is aspirated via a sampling tube connected to a T-piece adapter located between endotracheal tube and breathing circuit.


Side-stream Capnographs




Easy to connect

No problems with sterilization

Can be used in awake patients

Easy to use when patient is in unusual positions such as in prone position

Can be used in collaboration with simultaneous oxygen administration via a nasal prong


Delay in recording due to movement of gases from the ET to the unit

Sampling tube obstruction

Water vapor pressure changes affect CO2 concentrations

Pressure drop along the sampling tube affects CO2 measurements

Deformity of capnograms in children due to dispersion of gases in sampling tubes


Main-stream Capnographs




No sampling tube

No obstruction

No affect due to pressure drop

No affect due to changes in water vapor pressure

No pollution

No deformity of capnograms due to non dispersion of gases

No delay in recording

Suitable for neonates and children




Contrary to the earlier versions, the newer sensors are light weight minimizing traction on the endotracheal tube. (see below)

Long electrical cord, but it is lightweight.

Facial burns have been reported with earlier versions. This has been eliminated with newer sensors (see below)

Sensor windows may clog with secretions. However, they can be replaced easily as they are disposable.

Difficult to use in unusual patient positioning such as in prone positions.

The newer versions use disposable sensor windows thereby eliminating sterilization problem (see below)



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