Transcutaneous carbon dioxide measurements in fruits, vegetables and humans: A prospective observational study

Anthony A. Sochet, Stacey K. Bessone, Nick W. Parilla, Thomas Nakagawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUNDTranscutaneous carbon dioxide measurement (TcCO2) is frequently used as a surrogate for arterial blood gas sampling in adults and children with critical illness. Data from noninvasive TcCO2 monitoring assists with clinical decisions regarding mechanical ventilation settings, estimation of metabolic consumption and determination of adequate end-organ tissue perfusion.OBJECTIVESTo report TcCO2 values obtained from various fruits, vegetables and elite critical care medicine specialists.DESIGNProspective, observational, nonblinded cohort study.SETTINGSSingle-centre, tertiary paediatric referral centre and organic farmers' market.PARTICIPANTSVegetables and fruits included 10 samples of each of the following: red delicious apple (Malus domestica), manzano banana (Musa sapientum), key lime (Citrus aurantiifolia), miniature sweet bell pepper (Capsicum annuum), sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) and avocado (Persea americana). Ten human controls were studied including a paediatric intensivist, a paediatric inpatient hospital physician, four paediatric resident physicians and four paediatric critical care nurses.INTERVENTIONSNone.MAIN OUTCOME MEASURESTcCO2 values for each species and device response times.RESULTSTcCO2 readings were measurable in all study species except the sweet potato. Mean±SD values of TcCO2 for human controls [4.34±0.37kPa (32.6±2.8mmHg)] were greater than apples [3.09±0.19kPa (23.2±1.4mmHg), P<0.01], bananas [2.73±0.28kPa (20.5±2.1mmHg), P<0.01] and limes [2.76±0.52kPa (20.7±3.9mmHg), P<0.01] but no different to those of avocados [4.29±0.44kPa (32.2±3.3mmHg), P=0.77] and bell peppers [4.19±1.13kPa (31.4±8.5mmHg), P=0.68]. Transcutaneous response times did not differ between research cohorts and human controls.CONCLUSIONWe found nonroot, nontuberous vegetables to have TcCO2 values similar to that of healthy, human controls. Fruits yield TcCO2 readings, but substantially lower than human controls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)904-910
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Anaesthesiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine


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