Notes on the apparent discordance of pulse oximetry and multi-wavelength haemoglobin photometry.Acta Anaesthesiol Scand Suppl. 1995; 107:49-52.AA
Multi-wavelength photometers, blood gas analysers and pulse oximeters are widely used to measure various oxygen-related quantities. The definitions of these quantities are not always correct. This paper gives insight in the various definitions for oxygen quantities. Furthermore, the possible influences of dyshaemoglobins and fetal haemoglobin on the accuracy of pulse oximetry are discussed. As pulse oximeters are constructed for the determination of arterial oxygen saturation, they should be validated with sample oxygen saturation values and not with the oxyhaemoglobin fraction. The influence of carboxyhaemoglobin is insubstantial over an oxygen saturation range of 0% to 100%. Through the presence of methaemoglobin, pulse oximetry will give an underestimation above 70% and an overestimation below 70% oxygen saturation. The influence of fetal haemoglobin is insignificant in the neonatal use of pulse oximetry, in the range of 75% to 100% arterial oxygen saturation. However, a pulse oximeter underestimates the arterial oxygen saturation at the 25% level with 5%, if the pulse oximeter has been calibrated in human adults. Such a low level of arterial oxygen saturation can be present in the fetus during labor.