Continuous pulse oximetry monitoring is routine in many pediatric inpatient units, generating hundreds of alarms per patient per day, up to 90% of which are false (nonactionable). We hypothesized that continuously monitoring pulse oximetry with a partially wireless monitor without physical connection to a wall unit (wireless pox) will decrease episodes of loss of signal integrity (LOSI) generated by motion artifact in healthy pediatric subjects completing age-appropriate activities compared with a traditional wall-connected pulse oximeter (control pox), thereby reducing false alarms.
Thirty-six healthy children, aged 1 to 17 years, were continuously monitored simultaneously with a wireless pox and a control pox while performing increasing levels of activity for 20 minutes. Continuous pulse oximetry data were recorded in 2 second intervals. Data were analyzed for LOSI. The Wilcoxon signed rank test was then used to compare the control pox to the wireless pox.
The wireless pox had fewer mean number of alarms due to LOSI (control 7.86, wireless 4.17, P = .0031) and fewer mean episodes of LOSI not leading to alarms (control 9.94, wireless 6.92, P = .0006). The control pox had a longer percent time in alarm state related to LOSI in all age groups.
This prospective observational study found that the wireless pox has decreased number and duration of events of LOSI compared with the control pox in healthy children. Implementation of partially wireless pulse oximetry in pediatric inpatient units may decrease episodes of LOSI and false alarms from motion artifact.