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March 23, 1994

Pulse Oximetry During Conscious Sedation

Author Affiliations

Sundby Hospital Copenhagen, Denmark

JAMA. 1994;271(12):906. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510360030027

To the Editor.  —Recently, a report from the Council on Scientific Affairs, American Medical Association, on the value of pulse oximetry during conscious sedation was published in The Journal.1 The Council recommended further research in the area and development of guidelines for monitoring and oxygen therapy by appropriate subspecialty societies. However, guidelines have already been issued by the American Association of Anesthesiologists, by the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, and by the British Society of Gastroenterology, but without scientific support.With the introduction of pulse oximetry as a standard of care in anesthesia monitoring, there were no studies to document its efficacy. Only recently, a Danish study of 20802 surgical patients allocated randomly to receive intraoperative monitoring with pulse oximetry was published.2 The study found, not unexpectedly, that pulse oximetry was associated with a 19-fold increase in the incidence of diagnosed hypoxemia, but most importantly, that pulse oximetry

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