Pulse oximetry provides a non-invasive means to measure pulse rate and haemoglobin saturation. Philip Woodrow describes the nurse’s role in its use. This article was first published in Nursing Standard, 13, 42, 42-47. Readers who successfully completed a written ‘Practice Profile’ assessment on that occasion may not do so again
The aim of this article is to enable nurses working in various clinical areas to use pulse oximetry safely for the benefit of patients. Nurses working in some specialist areas may need supplementary knowledge from elsewhere. After reading this article you should be able to:
Understand how oxygen is carried by haemoglobin.
Interpret the meaning of saturation of haemoglobin.
Recognise the limitations of pulse oximetry.
Apply this knowledge as part of total patient care.
Emergency Nurse. 7, 5, 34-38. doi: 10.7748/en1999.09.7.5.34.c1292
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