Determination of blood volume by pulse CO-oximetry

Physiol Meas. 2012 Jan;33(1):19-27. doi: 10.1088/0967-3334/33/1/19. Epub 2011 Dec 7.


The objective of this study was to determine whether changes in carboxyhaemoglobin (COHb) saturation following carbon monoxide (CO) rebreathing can be accurately detected by pulse CO-oximetry in order to determine blood volume. Noninvasive measurements of carboxyhaemoglobin saturation (SpCO) were continuously monitored by pulse CO-oximetry before, during and following 2 min of CO rebreathing. Reproducibility and accuracy of noninvasive blood volume measurements were determined in 16 healthy non-smoking individuals (15 males, age: 28 ± 2 years, body mass index: 25.4 ± 0.6 kg m(-2)) through comparison with blood volume measurements calculated from invasive measurements of COHb saturation. The coefficient of variation for noninvasive blood volume measurements performed on separate days was 15.1% which decreases to 9.1% when measurements were performed on the same day. Changes in COHb saturation and SpCO following CO rebreathing were strongly correlated (r = 0.90, p < 0.01), resulting in a significant correlation between invasive and noninvasive blood volume measurements (r = 0.83, p = 0.02). Changes in SpCO following CO rebreathing can be accurately detected by pulse CO-oximetry, which could potentially provide a simplified, convenient and reproducible method to rapidly determine blood volume in healthy individuals.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Gas Analysis / methods
  • Blood Volume Determination / methods
  • Blood Volume*
  • Carbon Monoxide / blood*
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oximetry / methods*
  • Young Adult


  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Carboxyhemoglobin