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How to use saturation monitoring in newborns
  1. Steven McVea,
  2. Michael McGowan,
  3. Bharathi Rao
  1. Neonatal Medicine, Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital, Belfast, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Steven McVea, Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital, Belfast BT12 6BE, UK; steven.mcvea{at}


Pulse oximetry is a first-line monitoring tool, used in neonatal medicine routinely as a part of continuous monitoring during intensive care. It is also used to guide response to resuscitation and as a screening tool for congenital heart disease. Despite its widespread use, many healthcare providers are unaware of the underlying principles and limitations of pulse oximetry in neonates. In this article, we will discuss the physiological and technological principles behind the use of saturation monitoring and its use in neonatal practice.

  • neonatology
  • monitoring
  • intensive care

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  • Contributors SMcV and MMcG wrote, edited and revised the manuscript with review input from BR.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Not applicable.