The Effect of Basic Assumptions on the Tissue Oxygen Saturation Value of Near Infrared Spectroscopy

  • Andreas Jaakko MetzEmail author
  • Martin Biallas
  • Carmen Jenny
  • Thomas Muehlemann
  • Martin Wolf
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 765)


Tissue oxygen saturation (StO2), a potentially important parameter in clinical practice, can be measured by near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). Various devices use the multi-distance approach based on the diffusion approximation of the radiative transport equation [1, 2]. When determining the absorption coefficient (μa) by the slope over multiple distances a common assumption is to neglect μa in the diffusion constant, or to assume the scattering coefficient \( ({\mu }_{\text{s}}{}^{\prime })\) to be constant over the wavelength. Also the water influence can be modeled by simply subtracting a water term from the absorption. This gives five approaches A1–A5. The aim was to test how these different methods influence the StO2 values. One data set of 30 newborn infants measured on the head and another of eight adults measured on the nondominant forearm were analyzed. The calculated average StO2 values measured on the head were (mean ± SD): A1: 79.99 ± 4.47%, A2: 81.44 ± 4.08%, A3: 84.77 ± 4.87%, A4: 85.69 ± 4.38%, and A5: 72.85 ± 4.81%. The StO2 values for the adult forearms are: A1: 58.14 ± 5.69%, A2: 73.85 ± 4.77%, A3: 58.99 ± 5.67%, A4: 74.21 ± 4.76%, and A5: 63.49 ± 5.11%. Our results indicate that StO2 depends strongly on the assumptions. Since StO2 is an absolute value, comparability between different studies is reduced if the assumptions of the algorithms are not published.


Absorption coefficient Methodology Near-infrared spectroscopy Tissue oxygen saturation 



This work was financially supported by the Zurich Center of Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP), University of Zurich, Switzerland. The authors would like to thank Raphael Zimmermann for very helpful discussions.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas Jaakko Metz
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Martin Biallas
    • 1
    • 2
  • Carmen Jenny
    • 1
    • 2
  • Thomas Muehlemann
    • 1
    • 2
  • Martin Wolf
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Biomedical Optics Research Laboratory, Division of NeonatologyUniversity Hospital ZurichZurichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Zurich Center for Integrative PhysiologyUniversity ZurichZürichSwitzerland

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