The aim of this study was to establish normal values for overnight oxygen saturation (SpO2) in healthy term infants using an oximeter which takes into account motion artifacts and to compare these to normal values collected with a previous generation oximeter not correcting for motion artifacts. We recorded overnight SpO2 in 26 term, healthy infants (median age 136 days, range 6-364 days) in the home environment using the Nellcor Symphony N 3000 pulse oximeter with an averaging time of 3 s. A sample rate of 5 s was chosen. Motion artifacts were excluded from the analysis. Data were compared with those from a previous study, using the same inclusion and exclusion criteria with the Oxford Medilog. Median (quartiles) SpO2 was 98% (97%-99%). Median percentage of study time below SpO2 94% was 0.2% (0.1%-0.7%); median percentage of study time below SpO2 90% was 0.0% (0.0%-0.01%). Median SpO2with the Oxford oximeter was 97% (96%-98%); percentage of study time below SpO2 94% was 8% (2%-14%); percentage of study time below SpO2 90% was 2% (0%-4%). These data were compared with the Nellcor Symphony data: differences in median SpO2 were significant ( P<0.05); differences in percentage of time below SpO2 94% and 90% were also statistically significant ( P<0.001).
Conclusion: we established normal values of oxygen saturation in healthy term infants using the Nellcor Symphony 3000 pulse oximeter. Care should be taken in interpreting values obtained with different types of pulse oximeters.