Study: Blood Oxygen Detection Device Gives Black People Wrong Reading More Often


According to research published on Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine, a medical device that measures blood levels of oxygen is more likely to give misleading or inaccurate results to black patients.

Researchers analyzed data from thousands of adult patients who received supplemental oxygen at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, comparing data from 37,000 patients in intensive care units at nearly 200 other hospitals.

Finger wearing pulse oximeters, which he found, were likely to return inaccurate results based on a comparative test of data for black users who take arterial blood samples.

“At the University of Michigan, pulse oximetry was found in patients with oxygen saturation from 92 to 96 percent, arterial oxygen saturation less than 88 percent, 88 7 749 arterial blood gas measurements in black patients and 99. 2,778 measurements in white patients.” The study states.

The devices are likely to be widely used in recent months due to the coronavirus epidemic, the study notes. Research suggests that black Americans, who have been severely affected by the epidemic, may have an increased risk of low blood oxygenation in healthcare settings that rely on equipment to triage patients.

The device flashes a red light through the user’s fingers, and for those with darker skin, the device can give misleading readings, Michael Sjöding, a pulmonologist who was the study’s lead author, told NPR.

He said, as errors often occur three times in black patients.

He said that the wrong readings “are not happening a lot, but if you think about how often these measurements are taken, if it is 12 percent wrong, then I’m worried that it could be really impressive,” he said. .

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