Fluorescent light interferes with pulse oximetry

Abstract

Arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2) values displayed on the pulse oximeter dropped dramatically in 3 children undergoing neurosurgical procedures when a hand-held fluorescent light was used to observe the patients. Pulse rates were unchanged on both the electrocardiograph and pulse oximeter. Electromagnetic interference was excluded as the cause of desaturation. A great deal of energy was emitted by the hand-held light in the 660-nm region, which is one of the wavelengths used by the oximeter. False readings of pulse rate and SaO2 values caused by ambient light could be avoided if oximeter probes were manufactured of black opaque material that does not transmit light or enclosed in an opaque plastic housing.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. 1.

    Swedlow DB, Running V, Feaster SJ. In reply. Anesthesiology 1987;67:865

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2.

    Costarino AT, Davis DA, Keon TP. Falsely normal saturation reading with the pulse oximeter. Anesthesiology 1987;67:830–831.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3.

    Hanowell L, Eisele JH Jr, Downs D. Ambient light affects pulse oximeters. Anesthesiology 1987;67:864–865

    Google Scholar 

  4. 4.

    Brooks TD, Paulus DA, Winkle WE. Infrared heat lamps interfere with pulse oximeters. Anesthesiology 1984;61:630

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5.

    Block FE Jr. Interference in a pulse oximeter from a fiberoptic light source. J Clin Monit 1987;3:210–211

    Google Scholar 

  6. 6.

    Siegel MN, Gravenstein N. Preventing ambient light from affecting pulse oximetry. Anesthesiology 1987;67:280

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to David Amar MD.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Amar, D., Neidzwski, J., Wald, A. et al. Fluorescent light interferes with pulse oximetry. J Clin Monitor Comput 5, 135–136 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01617888

Download citation

Key words

  • Equipment: pulse oximeters
  • Monitoring: oxygen
  • Measurement techniques: pulse oximetry