Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Are carbon dioxide detectors useful in neonates?
  1. E J Molloy1,
  2. K Deakins2
  1. 1Division of Neonatology, National Maternity Hospital, Dublin, Ireland
  2. 2Department of Respiratory Care, Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital, Cleveland, Ohio, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr Molloy
    National Maternity Hospital, Holles St, Dublin 2, Ireland; elesean{at}


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.

  • Paco2, arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide
  • ETco2, end-tidal CO2
  • ETT, endotracheal tube
  • TcPco2, transcutaneous carbon dioxide
  • ECMO, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • extracorporeal membrane oxygenation
  • endotracheal intubation
  • hypocarbia
  • resuscitation

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Competing interests: none declared