Performance comparison of the MOXY and PortaMon near-infrared spectroscopy muscle oximeters at rest and during exercise

J Biomed Opt. 2018 Jan;23(1):1-14. doi: 10.1117/1.JBO.23.1.015007.


The purpose of the study was to compare muscle oxygenation as measured by two portable, wireless near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) devices under resting and dynamic conditions. A recently developed low-cost NIRS device (MOXY) was compared against an established PortaMon system that makes use of the spatially resolved spectroscopy algorithm. The influence of increasing external pressure on tissue oxygen saturation index (TSI) indicated that both devices are stable between 2 and 20 mmHg. However, above this pressure, MOXY reports declining TSI values. Analysis of adipose tissue thickness (ATT) and TSI shows a significant, nonlinear difference between devices at rest. The devices report similar TSI (%) values at a low ATT (<7 mm) (PortaMon minus MOXY difference is +1.1±2.8%) with the major subsequent change between the devices occurring between 7 and 10 mm; at ATT values >10 mm the difference remains constant (-14.7±2.8%). The most likely explanation for this difference is the small source-detector separation (2.5 cm) in the MOXY resulting in lower tissue penetration into muscle in subjects with higher ATT. Interday test-retest reliability of resting TSI was evaluated on five separate occasions, with the PortaMon reporting a lower coefficient of variation (1.8% to 2.5% versus 5.7% to 6.2%). In studies on male subjects with low ATT, decreases in the TSI were strongly correlated during isometric exercise, arterial occlusion, and incremental arm crank exercise. However, the MOXY reports a greater dynamic range, particularly during ischemia induced by isometric contraction or occlusion (Δ74.3% versus Δ43.7%; hyperemia MAX-occlusion MIN). This study shows that in this subject group both MOXY and PortaMon produce physiologically credible TSI measures during rest and exercise. However, the absolute values obtained during exercise are generally not comparable between devices unless corrected by physiological calibration following an arterial occlusion.

Keywords: isometric exercise; muscle oxygen saturation; near-infrared spectroscopy; reliability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Isometric Contraction / physiology
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal* / blood supply
  • Muscle, Skeletal* / diagnostic imaging
  • Muscle, Skeletal* / physiology
  • Oximetry / methods*
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology
  • Rest / physiology
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared / methods*
  • Young Adult


  • Oxygen