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J Korean Soc Emerg Med > Volume 6(2); 1995 > Article
Journal of The Korean Society of Emergency Medicine 1995;6(2): 274-284.
Kwang Hyun Cho1, Tae Sik Hwang1, Hahn Shick Lee1, Chul Min Ahn1, Sung Kyu Kim2
1Department of Emergency Medicine, College of Medicine, Yonsei University
2Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Yonsei University
  Published online: December 31, 1995.
Pulse oximetry is a noninvasive method of measuring blood oxygen saturation even before changes to the cardiopulmonary functions become apparent clinically. Therefore it has been widely excepted in many disciplines as a standard patient monitoring equipment. But its accuracy has been argued at low oxygen saturation levels. To determine the accuracy of the pulse oximetry in the emergency department where the patients presenting with respiratory difficulty are expected to have low oxygen saturation levels. Prospective, cross-sectional, paired measurements of oxygen saturation by two different pulse oximeters(SpO2) against oxygen saturation of arterial blood gas analysis(SaO2) was performed from May 1994 to September 1995 at two different university hospitals. Two pulse oximeters each with its digital probe were applied to the patient for the measurement of SpO2 simultaneously and arterial blood gas was drawn for analysis(ABGA) at the same time to measure Sa02. 98 patients who met the criteria mostly consisted of cardiopulmonary patients. There were no significant differences between mean Sp02(88.1±11.4, 88.2土10.0) of the two pulse oximeters and mean SaO 2(88.7土11.4) from the arterial blood gas analysis(p=NS). Strong correlations were found(r=.70, r=.80). But the regression declined as SaO2 decreased especially SaO2 < 90%. The pulse oximetry is potentially useful in patients with clinical signs of acute hypoxemia and patients receiving interventions that may produce acute hypoxemia, because of their ability to continuously monitor the oxygen saturation. But pulse oximetry along cannot identify the degree of hypoxemia or severity of distress. Therefore patients complaining of respiratory difficulty in an emergengy department, history and physical examination must be performed with pulse oximeter as a guide while backing it up with ABGA
Key words: Emergency patient, Pulse oximetry, Oxygen saturation
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