Pulse oximetry is a noninvasive technology used to estimate oxyhemoglobin saturation. As many as 87% of nurses report that they regularly use this technology to assess the status of patients; however, a recent report of hospital staff’s knowledge of pulse oximetry showed that only 36% of the nursing staff felt they had adequate training in the use of pulse oximetry. In addition, only 68.5% of all hospital staff tested (nursing and medical staff) correctly stated what pulse oximeters measure. Answers to questions regarding the principles of pulse oximetry, potential errors, normal ranges, or the physiology of oxygen hemoglobin dissociation varied but generally reflected limited understanding.1 The questions and answers presented here may enhance your understanding of this commonly used technology.

Q: What does pulse oximetry measure?

Pulse oximetry is used for continuous noninvasive measurement of arterial oxygen saturation. Most of the oxygen transported by the blood is bound to...

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