Pulse Oximeter Signal Acquisition in Newborns

April 4, 2014

Pulse Oximeter Signal Acquisition in Newborns

  1. Katherine Bakes, MD

Attaching the pulse oximeter first to the extension cable and then to the infant shortened time to reliable readings.

  1. Katherine Bakes, MD

To achieve pulse oximeter signal acquisition in newborn resuscitations, current guidelines recommend attaching the pulse oximeter sensor first to the newborn and then to the extension cable. In a prospective, randomized trial of newborns ≥28 weeks' gestation born at a neonatal unit in India, investigators compared this method to one wherein the sensor was attached to the extension cable before delivery and was placed onto the newborn's palm or wrist after birth.

Of 149 infants (mean age, 33 weeks' gestation), median time from sensor application to reliable oxygen saturation and heart rate displays was significantly shorter in the oximeter-first group than the infant-first group (10 vs. 16 seconds). A similar time difference was found among the 48 infants who required additional resuscitative efforts (9 vs. 16 seconds). Time from cord clamping to appearance of a reliable signal was similar between groups (approximately 60 seconds). A greater percentage of infants in the infant-first group than in the oximeter-first group required reapplication of the sensor (11% vs. 1%).


Although it is not clear whether 6 seconds is a clinically significant difference, having equipment set up (including the pulse oximeter attached to the extension cable) in anticipation of delivery results in more-rapid vital sign displays and helps streamline care for an often high-stress emergency department clinical scenario.

Editor Disclosures at Time of Publication

  • Disclosures for Katherine Bakes, MD at time of publication Editorial boards Emergency Medicine Secrets


Your Comment

(will not be published)

Filtered HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Do you have any conflict of interest to disclose?
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Vertical Tabs

* Required

Reader comments are intended to encourage lively discussion of clinical topics with your peers in the medical community. We ask that you keep your remarks to a reasonable length, and we reserve the right to withhold publication of remarks that do not meet this standard.

PRIVACY: We will not use your email address, submitted for a comment, for any other purpose nor sell, rent, or share your e-mail address with any third parties. Please see our Privacy Policy.