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Evaluation of pulse-oximetry oxygen saturation taken through skin protective covering

Jyotsna James1, Lokesh Tiwari1, Pramod Upadhyay2, Vishnubhatla Sreenivas3, Vikas Bhambhani1 and Jacob M Puliyel1*

Author Affiliations

1 St Stephen's Hospital Tis Hazari, Delhi 110054, India

2 Centre for Science Education and Communication, University of Delhi, India

3 Department of Bio-statistics All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

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BMC Pediatrics 2006, 6:14  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-6-14

Published: 6 May 2006



The hard edges of adult finger clip probes of the pulse oximetry oxygen saturation (POOS) monitor can cause skin damage if used for prolonged periods in a neonate. Covering the skin under the probe with Micropore surgical tape or a gauze piece might prevent such injury. The study was done to see if the protective covering would affect the accuracy of the readings.


POOS was studied in 50 full-term neonates in the first week of life. After obtaining consent from their parents the neonates had POOS readings taken directly (standard technique) and through the protective covering. Bland-Altman plots were used to compare the new method with the standard technique. A test of repeatability for each method was also performed.


The Bland-Altman plots suggest that there is no significant loss of accuracy when readings are taken through the protective covering. The mean difference was 0.06 (SD of 1.39) and 0.04 (SD 1.3) with Micropore and gauze respectively compared to the standard method. The mean difference was 0.22 (SD 0.23) on testing repeatability with the standard method.


Interposing Micropore or gauze does not significantly affect the accuracy of the POOS reading. The difference between the standard method and the new method was less than the difference seen on testing repeatability of the standard method.