Improving anesthesia safety by equipping anesthesia providers with Smile Train-Lifebox Capnographs: A high quality, affordable capnograph suited for use in low-resource settings

Capnography is an essential monitor to ensure a patient is getting adequate oxygen during anesthesia. It has been used universally in high-income countries for decades but remains virtually absent in low-resource setting operating rooms.

The new Smile Train-Lifebox Capnograph tackles this major gap in anesthesia safety by making available an affordable, user-friendly, high-quality device with sturdy construction and long battery life. The device meets robust specifications for the monitoring of  both pediatric patients and use in low-resource settings, and underwent laboratory and field testing.

Capnography detects one of the leading causes of anesthesia-related complications and deaths in low-resource settings: esophageal intubation. This is where the breathing tube supplying oxygen to the patient is misplaced into the patient’s windpipe rather than the lungs. Without oxygen, a patient will suffer catastrophic harm in a matter of minutes, including brain damage and death. The risk of esophageal intubation is greater in children. But a capnograph will provide real-time data on every breath, allowing the immediate detection if a patient is not getting oxygen – this is life saving. 

“Putting a person under anesthesia without a capnograph is like flying blind - you lack the basic information required to keep them safe.. As healthcare providers, we are concerned that our surgical patients are not monitored with this essential device, even though it’s a standard practice in wealthy countries. Capnography shouldn’t be a privilege; it’s a demand for patient safety everywhere, and it's needed now.”
Dr. Zipporah Gathuya, pediatric anesthesiologist, The Nairobi Hospital, Kenya, Smile Train Global Medical Advisory Board member
  • 30+ years

    since capnography became mandatory in the United States

  • 100% gap

    often found between capnography need and availability in LMICs

  • 350

    Smile Train-Lifebox Capnographs to be distributed this year

Lifebox and our partner – Smile Train – are working with partners to address the global capnography gap. This year, 350 operating rooms will be equipped with Smile Train-Lifebox Capnographs including Benin, Ethiopia, Philippines, and Uganda. The distribution will be supported with comprehensive training for anesthesia providers. For more information, please contact us here.

Lifebox and Smile Train want to thank our global network of partners – both organizations and individuals – including the World Federation of Societies of Anaesthesiologists, the Global Capnography Project, and to every anesthesia provider that contributed their knowledge, experience, and expertise in developing this device. Thank you.

©Lifebox/Yosef Amare Tsehayu 2023. Smile Train-Lifebox Capnograph monitoring a surgical patient at Yekatit 12 Hospital Medical College, Ethiopia

“Capnography can identify a problem within seconds. This early detection allows timely management which significantly enhances our patients’ safety. Though a gold standard during any surgery, capnography is only available in a few hospitals in Ethiopia. Health professionals familiar with its functions are also limited."
Dr. Ananya Abate, Ethiopian Society of Anesthesiologists President

Lifebox is working to MAKE IT 0® and close the global capnography gap.

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