What is cmH20?
CM-H20 is short for centimeter of water and it refers to a unit of measurement for pressure. As a measuring tool, cmH20 is commonly used to determine the amount of pressure in various medical cases including those that involve the brain and the rest of the nervous system, and the lungs in terms of ventilation. Scientifically, cm-H20 is the amount of pressure that is exerted by the water molecule for every 1 centimeter of height under normal conditions. Normal conditions for measurement purposes means that the acceleration of gravity is at a standard level and the water is held constant at about 4 degrees Celsius. At this particular temperature, maximum density of the water is maintained.
In the case of medical cases involving the central nervous system, cmH20 is commonly used to measure intracranial pressure. This type of pressure literally represents the amount of pressure in a person’s skull. When there is pressure in the skull or the cranium, pressure will also be exerted to the brain tissues and the cerebrospinal fluid that acts as some kind of cushion for the brain. Through CSF sampling, the pressure inside a person’s skull may be measured and this can be expressed in cmH20. For people with nervous system concerns, the main concern is to control or limit the increase in intracranial pressure. This simply means that people would want to have a lower pressure reading in terms of cmH20. Trauma to the brain and/or aneurysm in some blood vessels are common conditions that could lead to increased intracranial pressure.
For medical conditions involving the respiratory system, the use of cmH20 as a pressure unit may also be used to determine lung health. Various levels of air pressure are involved when it comes to measuring lung health. Induction of pressure may also be helpful in terms of lung health maintenance. Continuous positive airway pressure for example may be measured with cmH20 units and this is basically used to ensure that airway pressure remains constant. With positive pressure, airflow in the lungs is considered open and normal.
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