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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Is pulse oximetry a distraction?

Here's an interesting article you can read about the pulse oximeter: "Is pulse oximetry an essential tool or just another distraction? The role of the pulse oximeter in modern anesthesia care." I personally believe there are definitely advantages to pulse oximeters, yet there are also disadvantages. 

Advantage: It's a agreat noninvasive way to learn how well a patient is oxygenating.  Patients can monitor their own oxygenation, and increase or decrease as needed. By seeing how well a patient is oxygenating, this negates the need to perform unnecessary invasive arterial blood pokes.

Disadvantage: Some patients sit and stare at their pulse oximeter and this results in added anxiety.  Sometimes I just want to take it away.  If it's mine I can, but many patinets are bringing in their own pulse oximeters.  Some are less than $99, and some cost less than $50. 

What do you think?  Is pulse oximetry a distraction?

1 comment:

steve respiratory said...

I see them as outdated equipment. The technology we have today could be configured to make a camera from your phone give you your pulse ox. They can already tell your heart rate from small color changes in your tissue. So in the hospital setting I find them to be a focus of machine, not so much the patient. I know we've all been there- 230am nurse calls for a patient desating, you run up there to find the pulse ox trying to figure out the oximetry of the patients bed. This device has taken much concern away from patient care and focused on device care. It has to be an industry thing. Most places want everyone on a pulse ox. Or it to be checked along with vitals even though the patient has no quarry with oxygenation. Any time there's a real question of oxygenation we have to draw a blood gas. Now in the acute setting these are gold. NICU,ICU,SICU its a must have. They definitely can be life savers because every second counts at that point.