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Drawing blood the best way to measure CO2 in pediatric TBI cases

| Aug 21, 2019 | Brain Injury |

When a child incurs head trauma, doctors measure and regulate the child’s level of carbon dioxide to ensure that enough blood oxygen reaches the brain. If too much carbon dioxide is allowed into the brain, it puts pressure in the skull, yet if too little passes through, it weakens blood circulation in the brain. West Virginia residents should know that there are two main ways of measuring carbon dioxide, one non-invasive and the other invasive.

The non-invasive way is called end-tidal capnography, and it uses the child’s exhalation to measure carbon dioxide levels. The invasive way is to draw blood through an arterial line. While this latter method is considered the more effective, it is not used as much as among child patients due to the risk for complications.

A study published in JAMA on Aug. 16 has confirmed the effectiveness of the invasive method even in the cases of pediatric brain injury. Researchers analyzed 137 cases of such injuries that arose between 2011 and 2017 as well as 445 paired data points for both diagnostic methods. Out of those 445 pairs, 187 data points agreed with each other with the rate of agreement declining within the first eight hours after the child was admitted. That only came to 42%.

Refining the guidelines for measuring carbon dioxide levels is important because a head injury can have serious consequences. Those who incur such an injury, whether in a slip and fall or in a traffic accident, may be able to receive compensation as long as they were not to blame. They may want to see a lawyer because filing a claim against a property owner or an auto insurance company might be fraught with complications. The lawyer may strive for a fair amount in damages.