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Pulse oximetry in acute asthma.
  1. J Bishop,
  2. T Nolan
  1. Melbourne University, Department of Paediatrics, Royal Children's Hospital, Parkville, Australia.


    The predictive value of pulse oximetry was evaluated in 100 patients who attended the emergency department with acute asthma. Oximetry after treatment with a cut off point of less than 91% had a sensitivity of 42% and specificity of 78% for unfavourable outcome, and oximetry before treatment had a sensitivity of 36% and a specificity of 57%. Despite its low sensitivity, oximetry after treatment does seem to have a role in minimising diagnostic errors in the emergency department, but only when used in conjunction with clinical assessment.

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