Accuracy of oxyhemoglobin saturation monitors during simulated altitude exposure of men with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

W. J. Mehm, Thomas A Dillard, B. W. Berg, J. W. Dooley, K. R. Rajagopal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are at risk for hypoxemia during air travel. We assessed the comparative performance of oxyhemoglobin saturation (%O2Hb) monitors on these patients during hypobaric exposure. We measured %O2Hb by arterial catheter blood co-oximetry (COOX) and compared these values to those from a transmittance ear oximeter and a reusable digital pulse oximeter. Additionally, we examined the effect of oxygen supplementation (4 L/min) on %O2Hb. A total of 18 ambulatory males with severe COPD were exposed to 8,000 ft, with and without supplemental oxygen. By COOX, %O2Hb fell at altitude to clinically significant levels, and was subsequently corrected with supplemental oxygen. Saturations measured by the transmittance ear oximeter were very close to the COOX, underestimating the true value by only 0.6% at altitude (p < 0.05), while the reusable digital pulse oximeter over-estimated %O2Hb alinearly by a mean of 3.8% at altitude.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-421
Number of pages4
JournalAviation Space and Environmental Medicine
Volume62
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 6 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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