What is the role of pulse oximetry in the assessment of patients with community-acquired pneumonia in primary care?

Thomas Bewick, Sonia Greenwood, Wei Shen Lim
2010 Primary Care Respiratory Journal  
Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) is a common presenting condition in primary care. Assessment of oxygenation status using pulse oximetry is increasingly available, but its precise role in disease severity assessment is unknown. Aims: To inform the use of pulse oximetry in patients with CAP, including the utility of different oxygenation thresholds, patient subgroups, and interaction with existing severity scores. Methods: A prospective cohort study of adults with CAP admitted to a UK teaching
more » ... ed to a UK teaching hospital trust. Oxygen saturations (S pO2) and the fraction of inspired oxygen were recorded on admission. The value of different SpO2 thresholds (<88%, ≤90%, ≤92%, and <95%) in predicting 30-day mortality and critical care admission was analysed. Results: 467 patients had SpO2 measured on room air. Admission SpO2 ≤90% was observed in 28% of patients and had reasonable specificity (76%) for 30-day mortality or critical care admission, but low sensitivity (46%). Specificity was particularly good for adults <50 years of age (90%) or those with asthma (92.3%). Conclusions: SpO2 ≤90% has good specificity but low sensitivity for adverse outcomes in CAP. It complements rather than replaces clinical severity scoring.
doi:10.4104/pcrj.2010.00049 pmid:20680235 fatcat:rqlswg5ya5ekjiafljxddy4gqy