Non-invasive measurement of peripheral venous oxygen saturation using a new venous oximetry method: evaluation during bypass in heart surgery

Monitoring of mixed venous oxygen saturation (SvO2) is currently performed using invasive fibre-optic catheters. This procedure is not without risk as complications may arise from catheterization. This paper describes an alternative, non-invasive method of monitoring peripheral venous oxygen saturation (SxvO2) which, although it cannot replace pulmonary artery catheters, can serve as an adjunct/early warning indicator of when there is an imbalance in oxygen supply and demand. The technique requires the generation of an artificial venous pulse at the finger, thereby causing modulation of the venous blood volume within the digit. The blood volume changes aremonitored using an optical sensor. Just as pulse oximetry utilizes the natural arterial pulse to perform a spectrophotometric analysis of the peripheral blood in order to estimate the arterial blood oxygen saturation, the proposed venous oximetry technique uses the artificially generated venous pulse to estimate SxvO2. A prototype device was tested in a pilot study with patients undergoing heart surgery. Data from this study support the notion that the method is capable of tracking haemodynamic changes and suggests the technique is worthy of further development and evaluation.