Maintenance of neonatal normocarbia may prevent chronic lung disease and periventricular leucomalacia, but this requires frequent arterial sampling, which has risks. Alternative methods for measuring CO2 are therefore desirable. These include end tidal CO2, capillary sampling, and transcutaneous measurements. CO2 detectors have also proved effective and rapid indicators of endotracheal intubation. However, this method relies on the presence of exhaled CO2, which may be reduced in certain situations, such as cardiopulmonary arrest. Colorimetric CO2 detectors are therefore valuable adjuncts for airway management, especially during resuscitation, but Paco2 is still the best measure of CO2 in neonatal practice.
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Competing interests: none declared
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