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Practical pulse oximetry

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 11 November 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1302
  1. P M Robbins,
  2. M D Brunner
  1. Clinical fellow in anaesthesia Harefield Hospital, Harefield, Middlesex UB9 6JH
  2. Consultant anaesthetist Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow, Middlesex HA1 3UJ

    Saturation can be normal with dangerously high pCO2

    EDITOR,--We agree with C D Hanning and J M Alexander-Williams that pulse oximetry has a place in the management of hypoxic patients with respiratory failure and that hypercarbia is less damaging physiologically than hypoxaemia.1 It is important to point out, however, that arterial carbon dioxide tension can become dangerously high while oxygen saturation remains normal, and this is a limitation …

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