Accuracy of SpO2 measurements by placing probes on newborns' wrist and ankle


  • Gule Tajkia Department of Pediatrics, Anwer khan Modern Medical College Hospital.
  • Mahfuza Shirin Department of Neonatal Medicine & NICU, BICH & Dhaka Shishu (Children) Hospital.
  • M Monir Hossain Department of Neonatology, NICU &Critical care Pediatrics, BICH & Dhaka Shishu (Children) Hospital.
  • Mohammad Abdullah Al Mamun Department Pediatric Cardiology, BICH & Dhaka Shishu (Children) Hospital.



SpO2, Pulseoximetry, Newborn, Wrist


Background: Pulse oximetry is a noninvasive technique of measuring oxygenation of the blood that is used worldwide to assess critically ill patients. The accuracy of pulse oximetry reading may be related to the site of pulse oximeter probe placement; but this may be difficult in sick neonates. In neonates, palm and sole are commonly used site for probe placement.

Objective: This study was conducted to assess the accuracy of pulse oximeter oxygen saturation (SpO2) from probe placement at wrist and ankle as an alternative to palm and sole in neonates.

Methods: This cross sectional study was carried out in SCABU of Dhaka Shishu (Children) Hospital from December 2012 to March 2013. A total of 169 neonates were enrolled in this study. Two pulse oximeters were used for simultaneous paired SpO2 measurements. The SpO2 was measured at 0 sec, then at 30 sec and at 1 min over the palm and ipsilateral wrist, both side and repeated the same procedure over the sole and ipsilateral ankle, both side and were recorded in the case record form. Two tailed, Student’s t-test was performed for analysis of continuous, normally distributed variables. Regression analysis was performed to determine the relationship between paired SpO2 measurements.

Results:  A total of 169 patients (birth weight 2530.8±772.2 g, gestational age 36.7±3.9 weeks, mean age 7.7 days and age range 1-27 days) were enrolled. There was a good correlation between SpO2 measured at the palm versus the wrist (r= 0.92, p<0.0001 (right); r= 0.88, p< 0.0001 (left)) and between SpO2 measured at the sole versus the ankle (r=0.90, p<0.0001 (right); r= 0.98, p<0.0001 (left)). There was also a good agreement between paired SpO2 measurements from these sites. The bias and precision for SpO2 at the right palm and right wrist was 0.08 ± 0.65% and for the left palm and left wrist 0.05 ± 0.79%. Similarly, the bias and precision for SpO2 at the right sole and right ankle was -0.11 ± 0.63% and for the left sole and left ankle was 0.56 ± 0.32%.

Conclusion: The wrist and ankle can be used as alternative sites, to measure SpO2 in newborn infants in place of the routinely used palm or sole.


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How to Cite

Tajkia, G., Shirin, M., Hossain, M. M., & Al Mamun, M. A. (2019). Accuracy of SpO2 measurements by placing probes on newborns’ wrist and ankle. Bangladesh Medical Research Council Bulletin, 45(3), 191–196.



Research Papers