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Selecting Your Next SpO2 Sensor

By Jason Sims August 8, 2018

To find the right pulse oximeter for your needs, consider these five factors:

1) Physical Characteristics

Age, weight, and application site are all major factors that impact the type of SpO2 sensor that is appropriate for your patient. Incorrect sizing or using a sensor not designed for your patient can be a detriment to comfort and proper readings.

  • Does your patient fall into one of the following general age segments:
    • Neonate
    • Infant
    • Child
    • Adult
  • If your patient is between two different age segments, patient weight can be used to determine the more appropriate type of sensor to use.
  • Where is the desired application site?
    • SpO2 sensors are designed for application on specific areas of the body such as finger, head, toe, foot, ear, and forehead.

2) Monitoring Duration

From spot checks and short term monitoring to extended monitoring, not all sensors are created equal: different medical situations call for different needs when it comes to monitoring duration.

  • Spot Checks

Consider reusable clip sensors for immediate application and to reduce waste when spot checking patient vital signs.

  • Short Term Monitoring

For the patient’s comfort, consider reusable soft sensors when patient monitoring is required for a longer duration than a simple spot check.

  • Extended Monitoring

For extended monitoring, consider extra comfort, breathability, and easy reapplication by using a disposable flex sensor system.

3) Movement of the Patient

When selecting SpO2 sensors, the amount of patient mobility or activity may impact the type of sensor needed.

  • Low Activity Sensors
    • When patient is anesthetized or unconscious.
  • Limited Activity Sensors
    • When patient may experience tremors or in hospitalization situations with low mobility.
  • General Activity Sensors
    • In situations such as ambulance transportation, patients in hospitals with high mobility, or sleep studies.
  • High Activity Sensors
    • In situations where exertion (such as the six minute walk test) occurs.

4) Mitigating Cross-Contamination

Reusable sensors must be carefully cleaned to limit risk of cross-contamination.

  • Always disinfect reusable sensors before and after use.
  • When sterilizing sensors a 10% bleach solution is generally recommended.
  • If cross-contamination potential is high, or disinfecting is required often, consider using a disposable sensor.

5) Use of Certified Sensors

Make sure your SpO2 sensors are certified Nonin branded sensors!

  • Nonin sensors eliminate variations in readings from patient-to-patient and sensor-to-sensor.
  • Nonin sensors reduce false readings and alarms due to patient motion thanks to Nonin PureSAT technology.