Pulse Oximetry: Watch the Patient, Not Just the Monitor
May 1, 2019 | Evaluations & Guidance
Pulse oximetry is used to noninvasively analyze arterial hemoglobin oxygen saturation (SpO2) and pulse rate (PR). Pulse oximetry is unquestionably a useful tool, but it cannot guarantee a patient's safety—and relying on it exclusively is dangerous. No device, no technology, is foolproof.
ECRI Institute's recent pulse oximetry study found that based on our in-house lab testing, the evaluated technologies provide comparable results (see Evaluation Background: Pulse Oximetry Technology). However, the accuracy of pulse oximetry readings may be compromised by patient motion artifact, light interference, skin conditions, pigment, wounds, nail polish, etc. In some cases, these inaccurate readings could mask the fact that a patient is in trouble. A caregiver who checks the monitor without checking the patient could...