A survey of anesthesia educators and investigators at the International Anesthesia Research Society (IARS) found that existing pulse oximetry sensors have significant limitations that hamper their reliability.
The survey found that fingertip sensors can be problematic:
- Nearly one in five anesthesiologists (18.8 percent) say they "regularly" or "often" have problems getting an oxygen saturation reading due to ambient light interference.
- More than half of anesthesiologists (53.2 percent) say they have trouble getting an oxygen saturation reading in up to half their cases.
- Nearly 94 percent (93.8 percent) of anesthesiologists say they have had to try multiple pulse oximetry sensors during surgery to get a reading and nearly three in 10 (29.2 percent) said they do so "regularly" or "often".
"Pulse oximetry is a critical tool for patient safety, but the limitations of fingertip sensors compromise their effectiveness, putting patients at risk," said Andrew Kersey , President. "Our preliminary survey of IARS participants clearly shows how fingertip sensors are a weak link in patient safety monitoring. We plan to expand this research over the coming months."