A crucial device used in COVID-19 treatment may not work on dark skin, study says

The pulse oximeter has been an essential tool for medical professionals during the coronavirus pandemic, but according to multiple studies and health authorities, the small device may not work for people with dark skin. On February 19, the United States Food and Drug Administration warned that the pulse oximeters, which have increased in use during the pandemic, can produce inaccurate results. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also updated their coronavirus clinical guidelines to warn doctors and nurses that data from several studies indicates that skin pigmentation may affect the accuracy of the device.

Pulse oximeters are small clamp-like devices that attach to a patient’s finger painlessly and constantly monitor the amount of oxygen in their blood. According to a study, the researchers analyzed data from more than 1,000 patients. For each patient, they compared the oxygen levels recorded by a pulse oximeter with those measured by arterial blood gas, which is a much more accurate, yet painful procedure.

The researchers found that in white patients, the pulse oximeter gave a misleading number 3.6 percent of the time. In black patients this was 11.7 percent of the time. Dr. Michael Sjoding said pulse oximeters were three times as likely to miss significantly low oxygen levels in black patients. The study also suggested that one in ten black patients may get misleading results.

READ: Another new variant of the coronavirus has now been detected in 13 countries

READ: New study ‘finds evidence’ about the origin of the coronavirus: ‘started in Wuhan Lab’

FDA to review data

The doctors explained the reason behind the inaccurate measurements. According to CNN, experts have said that pulse oximeters work by sending two types of red light through the finger. A sensor on the other side of the device picks up this light and uses it to detect the color of the blood. If the device is not calibrated for dark skin, the pigmentation may affect how light is absorbed. Doctors have said that dark nail polish can also have a similar effect.

Now that seems to be gaining public attention, the FDA has said it will carefully review the available data to determine if additional guidance or studies from the agency are needed. It’s worth noting that the FDA is responsible for approving medical pulse oximeters before they hit the market. According to reports, the agency currently requires pulse oximeters to be tested on different skin tones, meaning at least two darkly pigmented subjects or 15 percent of the subject pool, whichever is greater.

READ: Researchers develop ‘all-in-one’ vaccine while COVID-19 mutations continue to threaten

READ: Pfizer Coronavirus vaccines can be stored in normal medical freezers

Spread the love

More Tags We Love

Best Insurance Company in Ontario for Young Drivers Best Mortgage Refi Rates Nj Best Price Car Insurance Ireland Capital one credit card platinum mastercard review Capital one venture credit card Chase amazon visa card Fast Bachelor Degree Programs Online Is Transunion Usually The Lowest Credit Score Payday Loans Online Texas Bad Credit What Is The Minimum Credit Score For A Secured Credit Card

This div height required for enabling the sticky sidebar