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This article describes about the non-invasive optical measurement techniques to assess oxygen saturation in arterial and venous blood. The pulse oximeters for arterial oxygen saturation measurement use light in two wavelengths, in the red and infrared regions, and calibration is used to account for the difference in optical path-length between them. The accuracy of the commercial pulse oximeters is adequate for monitoring patients during surgical operation, where the clinical information that is needed is the absence of dramatic deterioration in the respiration efficiency. However, the error in pulse oximetry is too high for the clinical assessment of lung function, probably because of the need for calibration in the available technique. The use of two wavelengths in the infrared, instead of one wavelength in the red and one in the infrared region, enables the use of pulse oximetry without calibration. The technique can also be used for determining venous blood saturation, which is important for assessment of the adequacy of tissue blood supply.
Date of Publication: June 2008