Pulse oximetry is an optical technology that noninvasively measures the fraction of arterial hemoglobin that is saturated with oxygen (SpO2) and the pulse rate (PR). Currently, pulse oximeters provide audible alarms to indicate when a patient’s SpO2 and/or PR values migrate beyond user-defined thresholds. The SPD Alert (SPD) function on the Nellcor™ N-600x pulse oximeter with OxiMax technology adds automated, real-time detection of specific patterns within the second-by-second SpO2 trend data that indicate the presence of repetitive reductions in airflow (RRiA) through an adult patient’s upper airway and into the lungs. Repetitive reductions in airflow may arise when an individual with an upper airway abnormality experiences a decreased level of consciousness. Obstructive sleep apnea is one of a number of conditions that causes repetitive reductions in airflow. As summarized by Weinger from the 2006 Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) workshop, obstructive sleep apnea has been identified as a significant factor in cases of brain injury and death occurring in postoperative patients receiving opioid analgesia. The APSF has recommended that all post-op patients receiving patientcontrolled analgesia (PCA) or neuraxial opioids be considered for continuous respiratory monitoring.
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