What is the purpose of pulse oximetry measurements in acute asthma?

Updated: Jan 07, 2019
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

Pulse oximetry measurement is desirable in all patients with acute asthma to exclude hypoxemia. The hypoxemia of uncomplicated acute asthma is readily reversible by oxygen administration. Oxygenation decreases 4-10 mm Hg with beta-agonist inhalant therapy due to increases in V/Q mismatch. Therefore, all patients with acute asthma should have oxygen saturation measured by pulse oximetry, or they simply should be placed on oxygen therapy.


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