Dr. William Maisel, Director of the Office of Product Evaluation and Quality of the FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, said: “Although pulse oximeters can be used to estimate blood oxygen levels, these devices have limitations that may cause inaccurate readings.”
Researchers want to know that when a pulse oximeter should record more relevant things, it will often show relatively normal oxygen levels.
Among white patients, the misleading rate of pulse oximeter was 3.6%. Among black patients, this proportion is 11.7%.
Dr. Sjoding said that the conclusion reached is that in black patients, the pulse oximeter is three times more likely to miss significant hypoxia or hypoxemia. The study showed that 1 in 10 black patients had deceptive results.
Why the reading is not accurate
There is a relatively simple explanation. The pulse oximeter works by emitting two types of red light from the fingers. The sensor on the other side of the device picks up this light and uses it to detect the color of your blood. Bright red blood has high oxygen content, while blue or purple blood has less. If the device is not calibrated for dark skin, pigmentation may affect the way light is absorbed. Dark nail polish can cause a similar effect.
Dr. Michel Woogon, director of the Department of Intensive Care Medicine and director of the Department of Pulmonary Medicine at Montefiore Medical Center in New York, said that experienced doctors do not rely solely on pulse oximeters for diagnosis or treatment of patients.
Dr. Gong said: “As long as this number is okay, they won’t tell patients that I don’t care how you feel, don’t worry.” “This is a tool. As a tool, we need to be able to be correct in the context of other information. use it.”
However, Dr. Gong said that during the pandemic, hospitals are overwhelmed, and doctors who are usually not in the emergency room are taken to visit and triage patients. Pulse oximeter numbers may increase weight. If the patient’s oxygen level is critical, inaccurate readings may be particularly problematic.
Dr. Gong said: “The only way to reduce the health gap is if we deal with it from multiple aspects, from greater contributions and our personal interactions, that is.”
Amy Moran-Thomas, an anthropology professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, started studying pulse oximeters when he was sent home with her husband last year.
Discovery is not new
Moran-Thomas discovered a study dating back to the 1990s that showed problems with pulse oximeters in patients with darker skin.
In 2005, a study conducted at the Hypoxia Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco found that three different pulse oximeter models overestimated the oxygen content of dark-skinned patients. They conducted a follow-up study in 2007 with similar results.
Moran-Thomas wants to know why the problems discovered decades ago have not been solved.
Dr. Sjoding said: “I am a pulmonary and intensive care physician.” He started his research after reading Moran-Thomas’ article. “One of our co-authors is a famous black doctor at the University of Michigan. None of us knows. Since the mid-2000s, none of us knows about these studies. This is not part of our training.”
In an interview with CNN on Wednesday, Dr. Meisser said: “These devices are not just for the primary or primary purpose of information, but can be used to make clinical diagnosis or treatment decisions.” “Even if it is the most accurate product, Nor should you rely too much on pulse oximeter readings.”
Dr. Sjoding said: “Just make sure you are aware of this when making decisions.” “The pulse oximeter readings may differ by two points. If this is the case, would you take care of this patient in other ways?”