Pulse Oximetry Periprocedural Care

Updated: Sep 02, 2015
  • Author: Bruce M Lo, MD, MBA, CPE, RDMS, FACEP, FAAEM, FACHE; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Periprocedural Care


The equipment used for pulse oximetry includes the following:

  • Monitoring unit

  • Probe sensor

Currently, the two basic types of pulse oximeter probes are transmission probes and reflectance probes.

Transmission probes

With transmission probes, the light emitter and sensor are placed opposite each other on pulsatile tissue such as a digit or ear. The lights used to measure tissue oxygenation are typically placed across from a detector surrounding approximately 5-10 mm of tissue that contains pulsatile blood flow, such as a fingertip or ear lobe.

Reflectance probes

With reflectance probes, the light emitter and sensor are placed side by side on a flat body surface. The detector lies adjacent to the light source on a flat surface such as the forehead. This information can be used noninvasively to help evaluate the hemodynamic status of a patient and to detect hypoxemia in various clinical settings.


Patient Preparation

Excessive debris should be removed from the area where the probe will be attached. The patient should be out of excessive light.



The patient should be placed in a position of comfort.