Use the Earlobe for Pulse Oximetry

October 1, 2006
Lynda Sutliff, RN

When using pulse oximetry to evaluate patients with Buerger disease, Raynaud phenomenon, a history of heavy smoking, or other conditions that cause vasoconstriction of the fingers, place the probe on the earlobe. In such patients, this gives a more accurate measurement of arterial hemoglobin saturation than does a digital placement.

 

When using pulse oximetry to evaluate patients with Buerger disease, Raynaud phenomenon, a history of heavy smoking, or other conditions that cause vasoconstriction of the fingers, place the probe on the earlobe. In such patients, this gives a more accurate measurement of arterial hemoglobin saturation than does a digital placement.

(Author's note: For this and countless other practical pointers, I owe a great debt of gratitude to my former collaborating physician, Dr Milton F. Williams, who passed away in March 2005.)

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