An assessment of the accuracy of pulse oximeters.

11 November 2012


We recently published an article demonstrating that a significant proportion of pulse oximeter sensors in clinical use (258 / 847; 30.5%) were either inaccurate or demonstrated errors of electrical circuitry that would cause inaccuracy [1]. The article used a portable microspectrometer (Lightman®, to measure the emission spectra of the light emitting diodes within pulse oximeter sensors. An omission in this paper was objective evidence of the accuracy of the Lightman device itself.

We have therefore compared the spectrographic accuracy of the Lightman device with that of a leading industrial laboratory spectrometer (Bentham Instruments Ltd, 2 Boulton Road, Reading RG2 0NH, UK). The LED emission spectra of 12 pulse oximeter sensors made by various manufacturers were measured on a laboratory spectrometer and then on three occasions by separate Lightman devices (table 1).


Milner QJW, Mathews GR. An assessment of the accuracy of pulse oximeters. Anaesthesia 2012; 67: 396-401

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