Study: Blood oxygen oxygen detection device gives black people more often inaccurate readings

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

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

They found that finger-worn pulse oximeters, based on data comparisons for black users, could return false results by taking arterial blood samples.

“In a group from the University of Michigan, pulse oximetry found arterial oxygen saturation at 88 to 88 percent of 96,749 arterial blood gas measurements in black patients, with 96 to 27 percent arterial oxygen saturation,” the study said. .

In the study notes, due to the coronavirus epidemic, the devices are likely to be widely used in recent months. Research suggests that black Americans, who are disproportionately affected by the epidemic, have an increased risk of low blood oxygen oxygen in health care settings, relying on devices to treat patients.

These devices emit red light through the user’s finger, and for people with darker skin, the device can give misleading reading, said Michael Sajoding, a pulmonologist who is the lead author of the study.

Mistakes, he said, often occur three times in black patients.

“There’s not a lot going on,” he said, “but if you think about how often these criteria are taken, if 12 percent of the time it’s wrong, I’m worried it might actually be effective.”