Detroit Evening Report: Study finds pulse oximeters are inaccurate for dark-skinned patients

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Inaccurate Pulse Oximeters

A group of University of Michigan researchers has found a device commonly used to measure blood oxygen levels is likely to produce inaccurate readings for dark skinned patients.

Bridge Michigan reports incorrect readings often masked dangerously low oxygen levels that then lead to delays in medical care. Studies going back as far as the ‘90s have suggested pulse oximeters were likely to give false readings to dark-skinned patients.

The U of M group was able to perform a larger scale study during the early days of the COVID pandemic. The researchers presented their data to the Food and Drug Administration this month. The FDA issued a warning about the “limitations” of the devices early last year but has not yet acted on the latest data.

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  • Tia Graham
    Tia Graham is a reporter and Weekend Edition Host for 101.9 WDET. She graduated from Michigan State University where she had the unique privilege of covering former President Barack Obama and his trip to Lansing in 2014.