Pulse oximetry in adults

Am J Nurs. 2009 Jun;109(6):52-9; quiz 60. doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000352474.55746.81.


Pulse oximetry, a straightforward method for estimating arterial oxygen saturation, can detect hypoxemia early; it's used often and in a variety of settings. But what's not always clear is how frequently-or even whether-patients should be monitored, and unless guidelines are understood and followed, pulse oximetry can be misused or overused. This article reviews the technology and its limitations and discusses current guidelines and their implications for nurses.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Artifacts
  • Bias
  • Child
  • Guideline Adherence
  • Humans
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / nursing
  • Nurse's Role*
  • Nursing Assessment
  • Oximetry / methods
  • Oximetry / nursing*
  • Patient Selection*
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity