What are the advantages and disadvantages of pulse oximetry in pulmonary function testing?

Updated: May 14, 2020
  • Author: Kevin McCarthy, RPFT; Chief Editor: Nader Kamangar, MD, FACP, FCCP, FCCM  more...
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Advantages of pulse oximetry include that it is noninvasive, simple, and can be used to evaluate trends (evaluation of oxygenation during exercise, sleep, during procedures).

Disadvantages of pulse oximetry include that it cannot be used to assess oxygen delivery (anemia) or adequacy of ventilation (PaCO2) and that accuracy is lessened in the presence of elevated dysfunctional hemoglobin levels (CoHb, metHb), with a tendency to overestimate SaO2 by an average of 2-3%.

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