COVID-19 patients with darker skin might encounter less effectiveness in using pulse oxygen monitors, according to the experts. They have some warnings regarding health devices.

Experts Warn People About Pulse Oximeters

According to BBC's report on Saturday, July 30, the pulse oxygen monitors could sometimes resort to overestimating oxygen levels, as per NHS England.

According to healthcare professionals, the skin pigmentation of COVID patients has something to do with the effectiveness of the tool.

Furthermore, the medical regulators further suggested that those people who are feeling some changes in their bodies should be mindful. As for the part of NHS England, it recommended the Asians and Africans still use the device given that they would consult first to a health expert.

For this case, the immediate review for the pulse oximeters has been issued for MHRA. 

Since the pandemic started, many hospitals are struggling to find oxygen supplies. The pulse oximeters are vital for the healthcare workers to monitor the patient's oxygen levels.

However, the "silent hypoxia" might come unexpectedly to the COVID-19 patients without them knowing.

The condition happens when the oxygen levels of an individual have been dropping at a dangerous level.

Read Also: COVID-19 Survivors Who Suffered Lung Damage Face Higher Death Risk Than Cancer Patients, Warns Pulmonary Expert

The Case of an Oxygen Level Drop

In an article written by Daily Mail UK, the case of one patient, Ranjit Senghera Marwaha, showed how a pulse oxygen monitor could have a negative implication to the patient.

According to her, she and her husband had contracted COVID-19 last year. Upon using the device, she noticed that her oxygen levels have been dropping, so she was rushed to the hospital.

"When I went into hospital the first thing they said was, 'you've really left it too late. I was on 14 liters of oxygen - that's the highest they give you just before you move into intensive care," Ranjit said.

Updated Assessment For Pulse Oximeters 

According to NHS Race and Health Observatory director, Dr. Habib Naqvi, the updated guidance for the pulse oxygen monitors is always welcome for discussion. He is aware of the claims that the oximeters might put the patients in danger at some point.

Another expert, Dr. Omar Jundi from West Yorkshire stated that he noticed some inaccurate readings in the devices, especially when used to people of color with coronavirus.

He noted that it's good to have research focused on the cultural differences regarding pulse oximeters. This will really tell if those patients who have darker complexions can benefit less from the oxygen monitors.

It's good to use advanced health tech tools to improve the treatment procedure among patients.

However, these equipment might be subject to several flaws, and further studies are needed to prove if they are truly effective or not to a certain race.

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Written by Joseph Henry

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