Pulse oximetry in the pre-hospital setting

In order to sustain life respiratory gases are essential. The ability of the paramedic to monitor these gases is key to high-quality, effective, prehospital care. Pulse oximetry provides the pre-hospital care provider with a resource that enables them to monitor patients when they are in the field. The standard method for monitoring peripheral arterial oxygen saturation is pulse oximetry. It is common that supplemental oxygen is given to target levels of oxygen saturation, assisted by the use of pulse oximeters. Other methodologies are available that allow the monitoring of carbon dioxide through capnography and carbon monoxide through CO-oximetry. A pulse oximeter is a non-invasive product that assists the paramedic in assessing the haemoglobin content in a patient's blood.

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