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Concept: Pulse oximetry


Slow deep breathing improves blood oxygenation (Sp(O2)) and affects hemodynamics in hypoxic patients. We investigated the ventilatory and hemodynamic effects of slow deep breathing in normal subjects at high altitude. We collected data in healthy lowlanders staying either at 4559 m for 2-3 days (Study A; N = 39) or at 5400 m for 12-16 days (Study B; N = 28). Study variables, including Sp(O2) and systemic and pulmonary arterial pressure, were assessed before, during and after 15 minutes of breathing at 6 breaths/min. At the end of slow breathing, an increase in Sp(O2) (Study A: from 80.2±7.7% to 89.5±8.2%; Study B: from 81.0±4.2% to 88.6±4.5; both p<0.001) and significant reductions in systemic and pulmonary arterial pressure occurred. This was associated with increased tidal volume and no changes in minute ventilation or pulmonary CO diffusion. Slow deep breathing improves ventilation efficiency for oxygen as shown by blood oxygenation increase, and it reduces systemic and pulmonary blood pressure at high altitude but does not change pulmonary gas diffusion.

Concepts: Oxygen, Blood, Heart, Respiratory physiology, Blood pressure, Artery, Vein, Pulse oximetry


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


Background Long-term treatment with supplemental oxygen has unknown efficacy in patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and resting or exercise-induced moderate desaturation. Methods We originally designed the trial to test whether long-term treatment with supplemental oxygen would result in a longer time to death than no use of supplemental oxygen among patients who had stable COPD with moderate resting desaturation (oxyhemoglobin saturation as measured by pulse oximetry [Spo2], 89 to 93%). After 7 months and the randomization of 34 patients, the trial was redesigned to also include patients who had stable COPD with moderate exercise-induced desaturation (during the 6-minute walk test, Spo2 ≥80% for ≥5 minutes and <90% for ≥10 seconds) and to incorporate the time to the first hospitalization for any cause into the new composite primary outcome. Patients were randomly assigned, in a 1:1 ratio, to receive long-term supplemental oxygen (supplemental-oxygen group) or no long-term supplemental oxygen (no-supplemental-oxygen group). In the supplemental-oxygen group, patients with resting desaturation were prescribed 24-hour oxygen, and those with desaturation only during exercise were prescribed oxygen during exercise and sleep. The trial-group assignment was not masked. Results A total of 738 patients at 42 centers were followed for 1 to 6 years. In a time-to-event analysis, we found no significant difference between the supplemental-oxygen group and the no-supplemental-oxygen group in the time to death or first hospitalization (hazard ratio, 0.94; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.79 to 1.12; P=0.52), nor in the rates of all hospitalizations (rate ratio, 1.01; 95% CI, 0.91 to 1.13), COPD exacerbations (rate ratio, 1.08; 95% CI, 0.98 to 1.19), and COPD-related hospitalizations (rate ratio, 0.99; 95% CI, 0.83 to 1.17). We found no consistent between-group differences in measures of quality of life, lung function, and the distance walked in 6 minutes. Conclusions In patients with stable COPD and resting or exercise-induced moderate desaturation, the prescription of long-term supplemental oxygen did not result in a longer time to death or first hospitalization than no long-term supplemental oxygen, nor did it provide sustained benefit with regard to any of the other measured outcomes. (Funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; LOTT number, NCT00692198 .).

Concepts: Asthma, Lung, Pneumonia, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Emphysema, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Pulse oximetry, Oxygen therapy


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


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


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


The esophagus is perfused directly by prominent arteries and may provide a more consistent tissue source for pulse oximetry. The goal of this study was to evaluate the sensitivity and accuracy of an esophageal pulse oximetry probe on patients during controlled hypoxemia in comparison to measurements obtained with conventional pulse oximetry (SpulseO(2)). Forty-five ASA I-II adult patients were included in this prospective observational study. Nellcor digital oximetric probes were placed on finger tips for SpulseO(2) before anesthesia. After tracheal intubation, an esophageal probe was placed in the lower segment of the esophagus for esophageal oximetric monitoring (SoesO(2)). All patients were disconnected from the breathing circuit to establish a controlled hypoxemia, and were re-connected to the breathing circuit and ventilated with 100% oxygen immediately when SoesO(2) dropped to 90%. Matched SoesO(2) and SpulseO(2) readings were recorded when SoesO(2) measurements were at 100%, 95%, 90% and the lowest reading. The time for SoesO(2) and SpulseO(2) to drop from 100% to 95%, 90% and return to 100% was recorded. Oxygen saturation from arterial blood samples (SartO(2)) was also measured at each time point respectively. The linear correlation coefficient of the regression analysis between SartO(2) and SoesO(2) was 0.954. The mean ± 2SD of the difference was 0.3% ± 4.3% for SoesO(2) vs. SartO(2) and 6.8% ± 5.6% for SpulseO(2) vs. SartO(2) (P < 0.001). The 95% confidence interval for the absolute difference between SoesO(2) and SartO(2) was 0.3% to 0.7% and 6.2% to 7.4% between SpulseO(2) and SartO(2). The time to reach 90% saturation measured with SoesO(2) was approximately 94 seconds earlier than the SpulseO(2) (P < 0.001). In conclusion, SoesO(2) is more accurate and enables earlier detection of hypoxemia when compared to conventional pulse oximetry during hypoxemia for patients undergoing general anesthesia.

Concepts: Blood, Measurement, Anesthesia, Correlation and dependence, Pulse oximetry, Oxygen saturation, Oxygen sensor, Capnography


BACKGROUND: Interscalene nerve blocks provide adequate analgesia, but there are no objective criteria for early assessment of correct catheter placement. In the present study, pulse oximetry technology was used to evaluate changes in the perfusion index (PI) in both blocked and unblocked arms, and changes in the plethysmographic variability index (PVI) were evaluated once mechanical ventilation was instituted. METHODS: The PI and PVI values were assessed using a Radical-7™ finger pulse oximetry device (Masimo Corp., Irvine, CA, USA) in both arms of 30 orthopedic patients who received an interscalene catheter at least 25 min before induction of general anesthesia. Data were evaluated at baseline, on application of local anesthetics; five, ten, and 15 min after onset of interscalene nerve blocks; after induction of general anesthesia; before and after a 500 mL colloid fluid challenge; and five minutes thereafter. RESULTS: In the 25 patients with successful blocks, the difference between the PI values in the blocked arm and the PI values in the contralateral arm increased within five minutes of the application of the local anesthetics (P < 0.05) and increased progressively until 15 min. After induction of general anesthesia, the PI increased in the unblocked arm while it remained relatively constant in the blocked arm, thus reducing the difference in the PI. A fluid challenge resulted in a decrease in PVI values in both arms. CONCLUSION: The perfusion index increases after successful interscalene nerve blockade and may be used as an indicator for successful block placement in awake patients. The PVI values before and after a fluid challenge can be useful to detect changes in preload, and this can be performed in both blocked and unblocked arms. ( number: NCT 01389011).

Concepts: Anesthesia, Local anesthesia, Catheter, Pulse oximetry, Local anesthetic, Block, Blocking, Masimo


We present our experience in using pulse oximetry as an aid in the diagnosis of thoracic outlet syndrome (TOS). Our attention was given to those symptomatic patients without objective confirmatory data on imaging or electrodiagnostic evaluation.

Concepts: Cardiology, Syndromes, Medical tests, Pulse oximetry


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