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The feasibility and usefulness of oximetry measurements in primary care

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Kevin Jones, Dr Paul Cassidy


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Aim: To explore the feasibility and usefulness of oximetry measurements in primary care. Methods: Data collection over six months in 17 volunteer general practices in Gateshead using the Nellcor NPB-40 pulse oximeter and a simple data recording form. Results: 229 measurements of oxygen saturation were made with 65% in the 61-80 years age group. 30 patients (13%) were found to have readings of 90% or lower; ten were admitted and four referred for outpatient assessment. The readings reassured the doctor and the patient in more than 60% of cases. Conclusions: With minimal training, doctors and nurses made significant use of the oximeters, gaining valuable reassurance in the majority and identifying potentially important hypoxia in the minority. Greater use of pulse oximetry may be a way of making more targeted use of scarce hospital-based specialist services.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jones K, Cassidy P, Killen J, Ellis H

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Primary Care Respiratory Journal

Year: 2003

Volume: 12

Issue: 1

Pages: 4-6

ISSN (print): 1471-4418

ISSN (electronic): 1475-1534

Publisher: General Practice Airways Group