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Concept: Pulse oximeter


BACKGROUND:: Anesthesiology requires performing visually oriented procedures while monitoring auditory information about a patient’s vital signs. A concern in operating room environments is the amount of competing information and the effects that divided attention has on patient monitoring, such as detecting auditory changes in arterial oxygen saturation via pulse oximetry. METHODS:: The authors measured the impact of visual attentional load and auditory background noise on the ability of anesthesia residents to monitor the pulse oximeter auditory display in a laboratory setting. Accuracies and response times were recorded reflecting anesthesiologists' abilities to detect changes in oxygen saturation across three levels of visual attention in quiet and with noise. RESULTS:: Results show that visual attentional load substantially affects the ability to detect changes in oxygen saturation concentrations conveyed by auditory cues signaling 99 and 98% saturation. These effects are compounded by auditory noise, up to a 17% decline in performance. These deficits are seen in the ability to accurately detect a change in oxygen saturation and in speed of response. CONCLUSIONS:: Most anesthesia accidents are initiated by small errors that cascade into serious events. Lack of monitor vigilance and inattention are two of the more commonly cited factors. Reducing such errors is thus a priority for improving patient safety. Specifically, efforts to reduce distractors and decrease background noise should be considered during induction and emergence, periods of especially high risk, when anesthesiologists has to attend to many tasks and are thus susceptible to error.

Concepts: Attention, Surgery, Anesthesia, Pulse oximetry, Oxygen saturation, Oxygen sensor, Capnography, Pulse oximeter


Chlorophyll a fluorometry has long been used as a method to study phytoplankton in the ocean. In situ fluorometry is used frequently in oceanography to provide depth-resolved estimates of phytoplankton biomass. However, the high price of commercially manufactured in situ fluorometers has made them unavailable to some individuals and institutions. Presented here is an investigation into building an in situ fluorometer using low cost electronics. The goal was to construct an easily reproducible in situ fluorometer from simple and widely available electronic components. The simplicity and modest cost of the sensor makes it valuable to students and professionals alike. Open source sharing of architecture and software will allow students to reconstruct and customize the sensor on a small budget. Research applications that require numerous in situ fluorometers or expendable fluorometers can also benefit from this study. The sensor costs US$150.00 and can be constructed with little to no previous experience. The sensor uses a blue LED to excite chlorophyll a and measures fluorescence using a silicon photodiode. The sensor is controlled by an Arduino microcontroller that also serves as a data logger.

Concepts: Fluorescence, Fluorescence spectroscopy, Diode, Ocean, Transducer, Infrared, Pulse oximeter, Fluorometer


Contactless, camera-based photoplethysmography (PPG) interrogates shallower skin layers than conventional contact probes, either transmissive or reflective. This raises questions on the calibratability of camera-based pulse oximetry.

Concepts: Cardiology, Medical tests, Pulse oximeter


Diagnostic and interventional procedures are often facilitated by moderate procedure-related sedation. Many studies support the overall safety of this sedation; however, adverse cardiovascular and respiratory events are reported in up to 70% of these procedures, more frequently in very young, very old, or sicker patients. Monitoring with pulse oximetry may underreport hypoventilation during sedation, particularly if supplemental oxygen is provided. Capnometry may result in false alarms during sedation when patients mouth breathe or displace sampling devices. Advanced monitor use during sedation may allow event detection before complications develop. This 2-part pilot study used advanced monitors during planned moderate sedation to (1) determine incidences of desaturation, low respiratory rate, and deeper than intended sedation alarm events; and (2) determine whether advanced monitor use is associated with fewer alarm events.

Concepts: Anesthesia, Alarm, Pulse oximetry, Oxygen sensor, Capnography, Pulse oximeter, Integrated Pulmonary Index


Pulse oximetry is universally used for monitoring patients in the critical care setting. This article updates the review on pulse oximetry that was published in 1999 in Critical Care. A summary of the recently developed multiwavelength pulse oximeters and their ability in detecting dyshemoglobins is provided. The impact of the latest signal processing techniques and reflectance technology on improving the performance of pulse oximeters during motion artifact and low perfusion conditions is critically examined. Finally, data regarding the effect of pulse oximetry on patient outcome are discussed.

Concepts: Patient, Cardiology, Pulse oximeter


Background The safest ranges of oxygen saturation in preterm infants have been the subject of debate. Methods In two trials, conducted in Australia and the United Kingdom, infants born before 28 weeks' gestation were randomly assigned to either a lower (85 to 89%) or a higher (91 to 95%) oxygen-saturation range. During enrollment, the oximeters were revised to correct a calibration-algorithm artifact. The primary outcome was death or disability at a corrected gestational age of 2 years; this outcome was evaluated among infants whose oxygen saturation was measured with any study oximeter in the Australian trial and those whose oxygen saturation was measured with a revised oximeter in the U.K. trial. Results After 1135 infants in Australia and 973 infants in the United Kingdom had been enrolled in the trial, an interim analysis showed increased mortality at a corrected gestational age of 36 weeks, and enrollment was stopped. Death or disability in the Australian trial (with all oximeters included) occurred in 247 of 549 infants (45.0%) in the lower-target group versus 217 of 545 infants (39.8%) in the higher-target group (adjusted relative risk, 1.12; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.98 to 1.27; P=0.10); death or disability in the U.K. trial (with only revised oximeters included) occurred in 185 of 366 infants (50.5%) in the lower-target group versus 164 of 357 infants (45.9%) in the higher-target group (adjusted relative risk, 1.10; 95% CI, 0.97 to 1.24; P=0.15). In post hoc combined, unadjusted analyses that included all oximeters, death or disability occurred in 492 of 1022 infants (48.1%) in the lower-target group versus 437 of 1013 infants (43.1%) in the higher-target group (relative risk, 1.11; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.23; P=0.02), and death occurred in 222 of 1045 infants (21.2%) in the lower-target group versus 185 of 1045 infants (17.7%) in the higher-target group (relative risk, 1.20; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.43; P=0.04). In the group in which revised oximeters were used, death or disability occurred in 287 of 580 infants (49.5%) in the lower-target group versus 248 of 563 infants (44.0%) in the higher-target group (relative risk, 1.12; 95% CI, 0.99 to 1.27; P=0.07), and death occurred in 144 of 587 infants (24.5%) versus 99 of 586 infants (16.9%) (relative risk, 1.45; 95% CI, 1.16 to 1.82; P=0.001). Conclusions Use of an oxygen-saturation target range of 85 to 89% versus 91 to 95% resulted in nonsignificantly higher rates of death or disability at 2 years in each trial but in significantly increased risks of this combined outcome and of death alone in post hoc combined analyses. (Funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council and others; BOOST-II Current Controlled Trials number, ISRCTN00842661 , and Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry number, ACTRN12605000055606 .).

Concepts: Cohort study, Epidemiology, Fetus, Medical statistics, United Kingdom, The Trial, Pulse oximeter, 175


Previous results from our trial of early treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) versus early surfactant treatment in infants showed no significant difference in the outcome of death or bronchopulmonary dysplasia. A lower (vs. higher) target range of oxygen saturation was associated with a lower rate of severe retinopathy but higher mortality. We now report longer-term results from our prespecified hypotheses.

Concepts: Cardiology, Outcome, Pulse oximetry, Oxygen saturation, Oxygen sensor, Pulse oximeter, Bronchopulmonary dysplasia


We present a novel method for estimating respiratory rate in real-time from the photoplethysmogram (PPG) obtained from pulse oximetry. Three respiratory induced variations (frequency, intensity, and amplitude) are extracted from the PPG using the Incremental-Merge Segmentation algorithm. Frequency content of each respiratory induced variation is analyzed using Fast Fourier Transforms. The proposed Smart Fusion method then combines the results of the three respiratory induced variations using a transparent mean calculation. It automatically eliminates estimations considered to be unreliable because of detected presence of artifacts in the PPG or disagreement between the different individual respiratory rate estimations. The algorithm has been tested on data obtained from 29 children and 13 adults. Results show that it is important to combine the three respiratory induced variations for robust estimation of respiratory rate. The Smart Fusion showed trends of improved estimation (mean root mean square error 3.0 breaths/min) compared to the individual estimation methods (5.8, 6.2 and 3.9 breaths/min). The Smart Fusion algorithm is being implemented in a mobile phone pulse oximeter device to facilitate the diagnosis of severe childhood pneumonia in remote areas.

Concepts: Discrete Fourier transform, Fast Fourier transform, Estimation, Root mean square, Pulse oximetry, Oxygen saturation, Capnography, Pulse oximeter


This study examined the influence of muscle deoxygenation and reoxygenation on repeated-sprint performance via manipulation of O(2) delivery. Fourteen team-sport players performed 10 10-s sprints (30-s recovery) under normoxic (NM: F(I) O(2) 0.21) and acute hypoxic (HY: F(I) O(2) 0.13) conditions in a randomized, single-blind fashion and crossover design. Mechanical work was calculated and arterial O(2) saturation (S(p) O(2) ) was estimated via pulse oximetry for every sprint. Muscle deoxyhemoglobin concentration ([HHb]) was monitored continuously by near-infrared spectroscopy. Differences between NM and HY data were analyzed for practical significance using magnitude-based inferences. HY reduced S(p) O(2) (-10.7 ± 1.9%, with chances to observe a higher/similar/lower value in HY of 0/0/100%) and mechanical work (-8.2 ± 2.1%; 0/0/100%). Muscle deoxygenation increased during sprints in both environments, but was almost certainly higher in HY (12.5 ± 3.1%, 100/0/0%). Between-sprint muscle reoxygenation was likely more attenuated in HY (-11.1 ± 11.9%; 2/7/91%). The impairment in mechanical work in HY was very largely correlated with HY-induced attenuation in muscle reoxygenation (r = 0.78, 90% confidence limits: 0.49; 0.91). Repeated-sprint performance is related, in part, to muscle reoxygenation capacity during recovery periods. These results extend previous findings that muscle O(2) availability is important for prolonged repeated-sprint performance, in particular when the exercise is taken in hypoxia.

Concepts: Energy, Crossover study, Hypoxia, Statistical inference, Vastus lateralis muscle, Work, Pulse oximetry, Pulse oximeter


Pulse oximetry utilizes the technique of photoplethysmography to estimate arterial oxygen saturation (SpO(2)) values. During hypothermia, the amplitude of the photoplethysmograph (PPG) is compromised which can lead to inaccurate estimation of SpO(2). A new mutlimode PPG/pulse oximeter sensor was developed to investigate the behaviour of PPGs during conditions of induced hypothermia (hand immersed in an ice bath). PPG measurements from 20 volunteers were conducted and SpO(2) values were estimated at all stages of the experiment. Good quality PPG signals were observed from the majority of the volunteers at almost all hand temperatures. At low temperature ranges, from 13 to 21 °C, the failure rate to estimate SpO(2) values from the multimode transreflectance PPG sensor was 2.4% as compared to the commercial pulse oximeter with a failure rate of 70%.

Concepts: Oxygen, Cardiology, Photoplethysmograph, Pulse oximetry, Oxygen saturation, Oxygen sensor, Capnography, Pulse oximeter