Clinical evaluation of a new optical fibre method of measuring oxygen saturation using photoplethysmograph signals reflected from internal tissues
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Traditional methods of measuring oxygen saturation, e.g. pulse oximetry, depend on an adequate peripheral circulation and have a 20–30 second lag time before readings are obtained. This was a series of evaluations of novel optical probes, designed to measure oxygen saturation using fibreoptic technology directly from internal organs including the brain, oesophagus and organs with splanchnic circulations. A series of pilot studies were proposed and research ethics approval obtained to carry out studies in humans, under general anaesthesia, using these probes. Innovative reflectance probes were designed specifically for each of the four applications, so as to obtain potentially useful signals needed for signal processing, analysis and evaluation. Signals were successfully obtained from the brain, oesophagus and splanchnic region in almost all of the patients recruited. Good quality photoplethysmograph signals were recorded and these were translated into clinically meaningful values of oxygen saturation comparable to traditional methods of pulse oximetry. Overall, the signals were prone to movement artefacts as well as occasional interference from surgical diathermy and other sources. Nonetheless, the probes could prove to be a useful alternative to conventional external transmittance pulse oximetry methods as well as providing useful information regarding regional perfusion and oxygenation. The success of these pilot studies will form the basis of more research in the area and further development of such probes on the medical engineering front.
AuthorsChang, Serene Hsi-Lin
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