Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters BMJ Christmas appeal

Lifebox replies to Savage

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 17 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e219
  1. Iain H Wilson, consultant anaesthetist1
  1. 1Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust, Exeter EX2 5DW, UK
  1. iainhwilson{at}

The Lifebox pulse oximeter was selected after a tendering exercise that entailed considering many models from different manufacturers against the World Health Organization’s specifications for use in operating theatres.1 2

The Lifebox oximeter must be robust (able to withstand being dropped from 1 m on to concrete) and powered by mains electricity and rechargeable batteries, as well as having accurate performance, configurable alarms, a pulse tone that falls with decreasing saturation, a clear display, and a waveform. The replaceable probe (adult or paediatric) and battery must be low cost.

An oximeter of this quality is usually considerably more expensive than the Lifebox oximeter, as are the replacement probes (Lifebox probe $25 (£16; €19)). Lifebox buys the oximeters direct from the manufacturer so there are no further profits down the line. In a few cases import duties have been charged.

The Lifebox oximeter is of a much higher quality than the cheaper fingertip all in one models often found online, and it was selected because of its performance and quality. Many of the fingertip and other cheaper models depend on replaceable batteries, which would be expensive and unavailable in many hospitals. In addition, many of these models are small, difficult to read, and delicate and would be difficult to use effectively in operating theatres.

Each Lifebox oximeter package includes education materials on pulse oximetry and the WHO’s surgical safety checklist; these are suitable for classroom learning and self teaching and available in six languages.


Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e219


  • Competing interests: IHW is Lifebox trustee and president of the Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland.


View Abstract

Log in

Log in through your institution


* For online subscription