Skip to main content

Preventing Post-op Respiratory Depression

Respiratory Compromise 97% Preventable in Recovery

Respiratory Compromise: 97% Preventable in Recovery 

In an analysis of postoperative respiratory depression (RD) events that resulted in injuries or deaths, 97% were judged as preventable with better monitoring. In claims that resulted in lawsuits, the time between the last nursing check and the discovery of RD was1:

  • Within 2 hours in 42% of the cases
  • Within 15 minutes in 16% of the cases

Early detection through better monitoring can make a difference. 

Click here to view a summary of the paper or access the study.


TOPIC: Respiratory Compromise

1. Lee LA, Caplan RA, Stephens LS, et al. Postoperative Opioid-induced Respiratory Depression: A Closed Claims Analysis. Anesthesiology. 2015;122(3):659-665.

About the Author

Greg Spratt BS RRT CPFT is a respiratory therapist and former Director of Market Development at Medtronic. Greg has over 25 years’ clinical experience working with respiratory compromise across the healthcare continuum, has published articles in numerous pulmonary journals and periodicals, and presented internationally on improving solutions for patients with breath difficulties.

Profile Photo of Greg Spratt