Utility of Pulse Oximeters in Diagnosing Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a severe lung infection that can be life-threatening and often requires treatment with antibiotics. However, it is notoriously difficult to discriminate from more common viral infections, against which antibiotics are ineffective.

In this article, we explore briefly the role of an oximeter.

A large study was published in the European Respiratory Journal.

The study was led by Michael Moore, Professor of Primary Care Research at the University of Southampton, and funded by the National Institute for Health Research.

Professor Moore and his colleagues studied 28,883 patients who had visited GPs at 5,222 different surgeries across the UK 

The researchers found that some signs and symptoms were more common in patients who turned out to have pneumonia.

Two of these were a pulse rate of more than 100 beats per minute, and oxygen saturation in the blood lower than 95%. Both of these can be detected by an Oximeter, such as our ART-1 pictured below. 

Previously, Oximeters were not used. They are new technology, and furthermore, these symptoms were not widely known, prior to this study. 

This discovery is clearly very exciting and equips GPs and people at home to be able to detect the signs of respiratory illness very early on. 

“This is the first large study to look at whether oxygen saturation might indicate pneumonia and the results do support using pulse oximetry in assessing patients in primary care.", the study says.