November 2001 Issue

Letters: 11/01

Pulse Oximeters
I am a long-time subscriber to Aviation Consumer and have been a pilot for more than 26 years.  Your two recent articles on pulse oximeters were excellent. 

However, there’s a critical misunderstanding about pulse oximeters which needs to be explained.  As a practicing anesthesiologist, I use oximeters every day.  The oximeter indirectly measures the oxygen available to the tissues by calculating the percentage of hemoglobin molecules saturated with oxygen. 

However, the relationship between the oxygen available to the tissues and the oxygen saturation percentage recorded by the pulse oximeter is not a linear relationship. 

Pilots should not be fooled...

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