Function of Pulse oximetry

A blood-oxygen monitor displays the percentage of blood that is loaded with oxygen. More specifically, it measures what percentage of hemoglobin, the protein in blood that carries oxygen, is loaded. Acceptable normal ranges for patients without pulmonary pathology are from 95 to 99 percent. For a patient breathing room air at or near sea level, an estimate of arterial pO2 can be made from the blood-oxygen monitor ”saturation of peripheral oxygen” (SpO2) reading.

A typical pulse oximeter uses an electronic processor and a pair of small light-emitting diodes (LEDs) facing a photodiode through a translucent part of the patient’s body, usually a fingertip or an earlobe. One LED is red, with wavelength of 660 nm, and the other is infrared with a wavelength of 940 nm. Absorption of light at these wavelengths differs significantly between blood loaded with oxygen and blood lacking oxygen. Oxygenated hemoglobin absorbs more infrared light and allows more red light to pass through. Deoxygenated hemoglobin allows more infrared light to pass through and absorbs more red light. The LEDs sequence through their cycle of one on, then the other, then both off about thirty times per second which allows the photodiode to respond to the red and infrared light separately and also adjust for the ambient light baseline.

The amount of light that is transmitted (in other words, that is not absorbed) is measured, and separate normalized signals are produced for each wavelength. These signals fluctuate in time because the amount of arterial blood that is present increases (literally pulses) with each heartbeat. By subtracting the minimum transmitted light from the transmitted light in each wavelength, the effects of other tissues are corrected for, generating a continuous signal for pulsatile arterial blood.The ratio of the red light measurement to the infrared light measurement is then calculated by the processor (which represents the ratio of oxygenated hemoglobin to deoxygenated hemoglobin), and this ratio is then converted to SpO2 by the processor via a lookup table based on the Beer–Lambert law. The signal separation also serves other purposes: a plethysmograph waveform (“pleth wave”) representing the pulsatile signal is usually displayed for a visual indication of the pulses as well as signal quality, and a numeric ratio between the pulsatile and baseline absorbance (“perfusion index”) can be used to evaluate perfusion.


Post time: Jul-01-2019