In this course, we explain the meaning of the term ‘partial pressure of a gas’. We illustrate the relationship between the three key measurements of arterial oxygenation reported on the arterial blood gas (ABG); the partial pressure of oxygen in the arterial blood (PaO2), the percentage saturation of haemoglobin in the arterial blood (the SaO2) and the total oxygen content of the arterial blood (the CaO2). We explain the scientific basis of co-oximetry and pulse oximetry. We illustrate the clinically important differences between these two techniques and, in particular, the uses and limitations of the SpO2 measured by pulse oximetry in clinical practice.
Planner and Author: Dr John Seery MB PhD
Planner: Dr Karen Strahan PhD (University of Cambridge), Head of Editorial
Planner: Tommy O'Sullivan, CME Manager
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Planners and faculty for this activity have no relevant financial relationships with commercial interests to disclose.
Ortega R et al. Pulse Oximetry. N Engl J Med. 2011;364:e33.
Tremper KK. Pulse Oximetry. Chest.1989;95(4):713-5.
Elliot M et al. Do clinicians know how to use pulse oximetry? A literature review and clinical implications. Aus Crit Care. 2006;19(4):139-44.
DeMeulenaere S. Pulse Oximetry: Uses and Limitations.312-7. 2007;3(5):312-7.
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Acadoodle, Ltd designates this enduring material activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.