Objective To review the published, peer-reviewed studies to date on use of the new-generation pulse oximeters, which are manufactured with algorithms to filter out patients’ body motions, and describe the application of new-generation pulse oximetry in clinical practice in critical care.

Methods MEDLINE was used to locate appropriate articles on pulse oximetry for the years 1995 to 2003. Each article was examined for scientific merit, content, and applicability to clinical practice.

Results A total of 17 relevant articles on the clinical performance of the new-generation pulse oximeters were reviewed, and the data were organized into a table.

Conclusions The combination of studies done in both clinical and laboratory settings did not provide any strong and convincing evidence that the performance of any single new-generation device was superior to that of any other new-generation device. However, the clinical performance of all the new-generation pulse oximetry devices was better than that of earlier devices.

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