The objective was to determine the repeatability and stability of capnography interfaced with human exposure facility.
Capnographic wave signals were obtained from five healthy volunteers exposed to particle-free, filtered air during two consecutive 5 min intervals, 10 min apart, within the open and then the sealed and operational human exposure facility (HEF). Using a customized setup comprised of the Oridion Microcap® portable capnograph, DA converter and AD card, the signal was acquired and saved as an ASCII file for subsequent processing. The minute ventilation (VE), respiratory rate (RR) and expiratory tidal volume (VTE) were recorded before and after capnographic recording and then averaged. Each capnographic tracing was analyzed for acceptable waves. From each recorded interval, 8 to 19 acceptable waves were selected and measured. The following wave parameters were obtained: total length and length of phase II and III, slope of phase II and III, area under the curve and area under phase III. In addition, we recorded signal measures including the mean, standard deviation, mode, minimum, maximum – which equals end-tidal CO2 (EtCO2), zero-corrected maximum and true RMS.
Statistical analysis using a paired t-test for means showed no statistically significant changes of any wave parameters and wave signal measures, corrected for RR and VTE, comparing the measures when the HEF was open vs. sealed and operational. The coefficients of variation of the zero-corrected and uncorrected EtCO2, phase II absolute difference, signal mean, standard deviation and RMS were less than 10% despite a sub-atmospheric barometric pressure, and slightly higher temperature and relative humidity within the HEF when operational.
We showed that a customized setup for the acquisition and processing of the capnographic wave signal, interfaced with HEF was stable and repeatable. Thus, we expect that analysis of capnographic waves in controlled human air pollution exposure studies is a feasible tool for characterization of cardio-pulmonary effects of such exposures.