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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Home oxygen monitoring for COVID safe

Wednesday March 23rd 2022

Pulse oximetry can safely be used at home by patients with COVID-19, according to an analysis published today.

The pandemic has led health systems to increase the use of tools for monitoring and triaging patients remotely, explain Dr Ahmed Alboksmaty of Imperial College London, UK, and colleagues.

In *Lancet Digital Health*, they report on their study into the effectiveness and safety of pulse oximetry at home. They searched databases and located 13 relevant studies, involving a total of 2,908 participants.

Their analysis "substantiates the safety and potential of pulse oximetry for monitoring patients at home with COVID-19, identifying the risk of deterioration and the need for advanced care".

They point out that the use of pulse oximetry "can potentially save hospital resources for patients who might benefit the most from care escalation".

However, the outcomes with pulse oximetry could not be easily compared with other remote monitoring tools such as virtual wards, regular consultations, and online or paper symptom diaries, they add.

The team also made 11 recommendations and three specific measurements for setting up home pulse oximetry.

Dr Alboksmaty said: “Throughout the pandemic, concern among the public has shifted from ‘Have I got COVID?’ to ‘If I get COVID, do I need to go to hospital?’.

"Our study shows that people with COVID-19 can safely keep an eye on their blood oxygen levels at home using pulse oximetry. If their oxygen levels drop below a certain point, then this indicates that they need to seek professional medical care.

“Pulse oximetry is easy to self-use, affordable in cost, widely available, and as we have shown, a useful way to identify health deterioration in COVID-19 patients.”

Alboksmaty, A. et al. Effectiveness and safety of pulse oximetry in remote home monitoring of COVID-19 patients: A systematic review. *Lancet Digital Health* 22 March 2022

[abstract]

Tags: Flu & Viruses | Pharmaceuticals | Respiratory | UK News | World Health

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