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Nursing ProcedurePULSE OXIMETRY


PULSE OXIMETRY – Types of Oxygen Transducers and Nursing Consideration

Pulse oximetry offers a reliable, noninvasive, painless alternative to frequent needle sticks usually required for arterial oxygen monitoring. The pulse oximeter continuously tracks arterial oxygen saturation levels using noninvasive light. A transducer (sensor) shines red and infrared light through tissues when attached to the client’s body (e.g. finger or toe). A photo detector records the relative amount of each color absorbed by arterial blood and transmits the data to a monitor, which displays the information with each heartbeat. Alarms sound if the oxygen saturation level or pulse rate exceeds or drops below limits set by the user

The oximeter eliminates delays associated with laboratory analysis of blood samples and instantly alters you to changes in the client’s oxygen saturation levels so the nurse can take immediate action. It also monitors pulse rate and amplitude and can detect changes in the client’s oxygenation status within 6 seconds


The type oxygen transducer used depends on the client’s age, size and clinical condition

  • Neonatal foot transducer
  • Infant toe transducer
  • Pediatric finger transducer
  • Adult finger transducer for clients engaging in limited activity
  • Adult nasal transducer for inactive clients (typically used during surgery)
  • Ear transducer
  • Forehead reflectance transducer


  • The site selected for transducer requires no special preparation. For best results with the ear transducer, attach it to the fleshy parts of the earlobe, not on the cartilage
  • Attach a finger transducer to the client’s index finger and keep the finger at heart level
  • Do not attach any transducer to an extremity that has a blood pressure cuff or an arterial catheter in place; the reduced blood flow will yield erroneous data
  • Protect the transducer from exposure to strong light
  • Check the transducer site frequently to make sure the device is in place and examines the skin for abrasion and circulatory impairment
  • Rotate the transducer at least every 4 hours to avoid skin irritation
  • If oximetry has been performed properly, the oxygen saturation readings are usually within 2% of arterial blood gas values when saturations range between 84% and 98%
PULSE OXIMETRY – Types of Oxygen Transducers and Nursing Consideration
PULSE OXIMETRY – Types of Oxygen Transducers and Nursing Consideration


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