Is Your Pulse Oximetry Technology Working as Hard as You Do?


Not all pulse oximetry solutions are created equal. With the importance of pulse oximetry in monitoring patients with COVID-19, now more than ever, it’s time to consider how your technology is performing.

What is Pulse Oximetry

Pulse oximetry is a noninvasive and painless test to measure a patient’s oxygen saturation level, or the oxygen levels in the blood. It can rapidly detect even the smallest changes in how efficiently oxygen is being carried to the extremities furthest from the heart, including the arms and legs. It also is commonly used to:

  • Determine whether someone needs help breathing
  • Evaluate how helpful a ventilator is
  • Gauge someone’s ability to tolerate increased physical activity
  • Analyze whether someone momentarily stops breathing while sleeping

How it Works

During a pulse oximetry reading, a small clamp-like device is placed on a patient’s finger, earlobe or toe. Small beams of light pass through the blood in the finger, measuring the amount of oxygen. It does this by measuring changes of light absorption in oxygenated or deoxygenated blood. The pulse oximeter will then be able to tell you your oxygen saturation levels along with your heart rate.

Evaluating Your Pulse Oximeter

When monitoring oxygen levels, the goal is to prevent hypoxia. Hypoxia is a dangerous condition that happens when your body doesn’t get enough oxygen, and it can severely interfere with your heart and brain function.

Your pulse oximeter is your tool to combat hypoxia. Is your tool capable?

We know that many low-cost pulse oximeters can inaccurately report hypoxic events due to nail polish, skin temperature or thickness, darkness of skin pigmentation or excessive motion. Certain nail polish colors and brands can absorb the light emitted by the pulse oximeter and skew the reading. During clinical trials, dark-skinned participants who were tested received overestimated arterial oxygen saturation readings.

These inaccuracies and device limitations pose an unacceptable risk. Only pulse oximeters with data to prove accuracy in patients, regardless of skin pigmentation, should be used in both clinical and home settings.

Comparing Pulse Oximeters

To ensure your pulse oximetry technology is accurate and effective, review medical testing. See how it compares to others in the market.

When a recent study compared three pulse oximeters, the Nonin Avant® 9700, the Masimo Radical® and the Nellcor OxiMax® N-595, the results showed the bias in dark skin pigmentation was minimal for Nonin’s oximeter compared to the bias for Masimo and Nellcor oximeters with clip sensors.

From the release of the world’s first fingertip oximeter in 1995, Nonin products have been reliable and accurate for patients, regardless of skin pigmentation. Their clinically demonstrated and real-world tested technology ensures blood oxygen measurements can be trusted and fast for patients, even in the most challenging hypoxic environments. They have demonstrated their technology not only exceeds FDA requirements, but also outperforms other medical-grade oximeters.

The Onyx


If you’re evaluating pulse oximeters today, consider the Curaplex Nonin Onyx® Vantage 9590. The Onyx Vantage 9590 Finger Pulse Oximeter provides a fast, accurate, cost-effective solution for spot-checking oxygen saturation and pulse rate in pediatric and adult patients. The Onyx is the only finger pulse oximeter with scientifically proven accuracy and is tested for use on fingers, thumbs and toes. For more information about the Onyx, view this one-pager.

An inaccurate reading can have life threatening consequences. You deserve the peace of mind that comes with using a product that works as hard as you do and performs accurately. It’s time to choose Nonin.

This blog is meant for educational purposes about medical products, medical devices, and related subjects only. It contains only general information about medical products. It is not meant to be medical or clinical advice and should not be treated as such. The information contained in this blog is provided “as is” without any representations or warranties. Emergency Medical Products, Inc. (“EMP”) makes no representations or warranties regarding the accuracy of information, the products discussed, or advice given in connection with this blog. EMP is not a medical provider and is not engaged in providing medical or clinical advice. This blog may contain external links to EMP’s website where certain medical products and medical devices can be purchased from EMP.