• This is an non invasive method to monitor the capillary oxygen levels from the periphery of body
  • This is always expressed as percentage.
  • These are arbitrary numbers which should always be used in conjunction of the clinical presentation of the child

Sites used

  • Finger tips
  • Toe
  • Earlobe


  • Pulse oximetry sensor consists of a red light device and a receiver.
  • It is very important that the light and the receiver lie opposite to each other .
  • The site should be warm with good blood flow
  • If the periphery is cold then try to place a bag of warm water over the limb to warm it up.
  • Any excess movement at the limb site can cause aberrant waves and the pulse oximeter to not pick up the saturations. Try to pacify the child for better reading


  • Check the site of sensor every hourly to make sure it’s not too tight and not compromising the circulation
  • The site of sensor should be changed at least every 2 hours a prolonged placement at a site can cause burns


  • Normal range in newborn- can be from 85% to 90% based on time since birth
  • Older children 95% to 99%

Abnormal values

Low values can be seen in

  • Cold periphery
  • Hypotension
  • Methemoglobinemia

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