Neurocritical Care

, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp 278–285 | Cite as

Cerebral Arterial Oxygen Saturation Measurements Using a Fiber-Optic Pulse Oximeter

  • J. P. Phillips
  • R. M. Langford
  • S. H. Chang
  • K. Maney
  • P. A. Kyriacou
  • D. P. Jones
Take Notice Technology



A pilot investigation was undertaken to assess the performance of a novel fiber-optic cerebral pulse oximetry system. A fiber-optic probe designed to pass through the lumen of a cranial bolt of the type used to make intracranial pressure measurements was used to obtain optical reflectance signals directly from brain tissue.


Short-duration measurements were made in six patients undergoing neurosurgery. These were followed by a longer duration measurement in a patient recovering from an intracerebral hematoma. Estimations of cerebral arterial oxygen saturation derived from a frequency domain-based algorithm are compared with simultaneous pulse oximetry (SpO2) and hemoximeter (SaO2) blood samples.


The short-duration measurements showed that reliable photoplethysmographic signals could be obtained from the brain tissue. In the long-duration study, the mean (±SD) difference between cerebral oxygen saturation (ScaO2) and finger SpO2 (in saturation units) was −7.47(±3.4)%. The mean (±SD) difference between ScaO2 and blood SaO2 was −7.37(±2.8)%.


This pilot study demonstrated that arterial oxygen saturation may be estimated from brain tissue via a fiber-optic pulse oximeter used in conjunction with a cranial bolt. Further studies are needed to confirm the clinical utility of the technique.


Pulse oximetry Saturation Cerebral Fiber-optic Cranial bolt 

Supplementary material

12028_2010_9349_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (289 kb)
(PDF 288 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. P. Phillips
    • 1
  • R. M. Langford
    • 2
  • S. H. Chang
    • 2
  • K. Maney
    • 2
  • P. A. Kyriacou
    • 1
  • D. P. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Engineering and Mathematical SciencesCity UniversityLondonUK
  2. 2.Anesthetic LaboratorySt Bartholomew’s HospitalLondonUK

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