Medical staff's knowledge of pulse oximetry: A prospective survey conducted in a tertiary children's hospital


Dr L Teoh, School of Women's and Children's Health, Sydney Children's Hospital, High Street, Randwick, NSW 2031, Australia. Fax: + 61 2 9382 1787; email:


Objectives:  To assess the knowledge of pulse oximetry of senior (SMO) and junior medical officers (JMO) in a tertiary paediatric hospital.

Methods:  A 16-item multiple choice questionnaire was administered to SMO and JMO without prior notice or instruction in the area. The questions were completed voluntarily and anonymously, then proctored and collated by the principal investigator.

Results:  The mean test scores for SMO and JMO were 70 ± 15% and 65 ± 13%, respectively (P = 0.06). A significant negative correlation was found between the test scores and the years of paediatric experience with the SMO.

Conclusions:  The results of the survey showed there is an insufficiency of knowledge and understanding among medical staff concerning the principles, clinical applications and limitations of pulse oximetry. More emphasis needs to be placed on teaching these principles to ensure quality care for patients.