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Old 09-01-2012, 05:44 AM   #1
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Help! Pulse oximeter problems. Overnight vs Rental

To make a very long story short my son had reflux spilling into his lungs. He had surgery and is doing great now.
We recently moved from 8250 to 7800 ft. At 8250 his baseline was around 89% after surgery. From 2 months of age on he was on oxygen 1/8 L when he slept. At 7800 ft his first overnight study put him at 91.38, 5.6% under 90%, acceptable without oxygen. The pulmonologist ordered a second overnight 2 weeks after where the results were 89.9, 13% below 90.
Here's the problem, we have a rental pulse ox (a Massimo set 8) that has his oxygen sat 3-6 points higher than the overnight study pulse ox (Nonin palmset 2500 handheld). I had put both of them on him because the Nonin does not have an alarm. Nonin was saying 89, Massimo would say 93, consistent and significant difference between the two. What do I do?! The pulmonologist is saying to use the oxygen again based on this test. He is now 6 months old and growing above and beyond the charts. I'm trying to get another overnight with a different pulse ox. Last night he was at 93/94 all night. I kept the oxygen near but I just could not bring myself to give it to him when he just doesn't seem to need it.
Has anyone else had significant differences in results based on the actual pulse oximeter?

 
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Old 09-02-2012, 05:00 AM   #2
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Re: Help! Pulse oximeter problems. Overnight vs Rental

some oximeters are better than others for sure. My mom's is very accurate although i use mind for exercise and its always always off.
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Old 09-02-2012, 06:42 AM   #3
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Re: Help! Pulse oximeter problems. Overnight vs Rental

I would call your oxygen provider and talk to one of the respiratory therapists. They can often give you an opinion on the differences in equipment and which brands seem to be most accurate.

 
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Old 09-02-2012, 07:50 AM   #4
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Re: Help! Pulse oximeter problems. Overnight vs Rental

That was my thought as well. I've spent hours researching both. While they both claim to be very accurate I can't help but think a very basic unit that doesn't have an alarm or any indicators that you have good signal, etc. such as the unit used for the overnight study would not be as accurate as one that is used in hospitals, such as my rental. Not to mention that the results are made into an average. If that average is including any loss of signal from his movements I can't imagine that result being accurate.

 
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:15 AM   #5
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Re: Help! Pulse oximeter problems. Overnight vs Rental

I contacted the provider they were as helpful as they could be on a holiday weekend. It looks like I won't have any definitive answers for a few more days. They basically said keep him on oxygen just in case. I have been experimenting with our rental. I took my husbands pulse ox and mine. All of us have the same #'s. Initially I made the mistake of taking my husbands pulse ox on his foot. For whatever reason his oxygen sat is much higher there. I'm guessing that's because he has thicker skin there tricking the light to think it's hemoglobin. Who knows. Nonetheless it was reading at 96 which is very high for our altitude. When I told the number to the respiratory therapist he was convinced our rental is inaccurate. So sure enough when the probe is on our fingers as it is supposed to be we are all at 92-94 so once again I believe the pulse ox is actually accurate.

Last edited by sunnyviolet; 09-02-2012 at 08:25 AM.

 
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