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Inaccurate pulse oximeter readings impacting darker-skinned ICU patients.

Nurse using pulse oximeter on hospitalized patient
Nurse using pulse oximeter on hospitalized patient

Faulty pulse oximeter readings in darker-skinned patients can affect their care and may be one factor explaining racial disparities in the medical field, according to two reports in the past week.

Pulse oximeters are devices clamped on hospitalized patients’ fingers to monitor oxygen levels. Reports from the British Medical Journal and JAMA Internal Medicine journal found that patients with darker skin received less accurate readings and experienced potentially fatal knock-on effects from these inaccuracies.

Here & Now‘s Scott Tong talks with Usha Lee McFarling, National Science Correspondent at STAT.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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