Pulse oximeter probes A comparison between finger, nose, ear and forehead probes under conditions of poor perfusion

D. G. CLAYTON, R. K. WEBB, A. C. RALSTON, D. DUTHIE, W. B. RUNCIMAN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The performances of 10 pulse oximeters using finger probes were compared with the same pulse oximeters using alternative probes (eight finger probes, two nose probes and a forehead probe) in poorly perfused patients. All readings were then compared with directly measured arterial blood oxygen saturations. The mean difference (bias, ‘accuracy’), standard deviation (precision) and ‘drop out’ rate for each pulse oximeter combination was determined. An overall ranking of performance of each pulse oximeter was calculated using five criteria (accuracy, precision, number of readings within 3% of standard, percentage of readings given within 3% of standard, expected overread limit in 95% of cases). Nose and forehead probes performed poorly. Some ear probes performed well compared to some finger probes, but the overall performance of probes in other sites compared to finger probes was worse, (p = 0.05). Two of eight ear probes and no nose or forehead probes would be expected to be within 4% of the reference value in 95% of readings. The use of finger probes rather than probes in other sites is recommended in the patient with poor peripheral perfusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-265
Number of pages6
JournalAnaesthesia
Volume46
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1991
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Equipment; pulse oximeters
  • Measurement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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