The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

1998 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

NORMAL SATURATIONS IN A MIDDLE SCHOOL AGE POPULATION AT AN ALTITUDE OF 4480 FT (1366 M).

Kathy Poll, RRT, Jim Keenan, BS RRT, John Salyer, BS RRT, Primary Children's Medical Center, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Introduction: There is a lack of data of normal saturations in pediatric patients at varying altitudes. This lack of normal data may be leading to over or under treatment of hypoxemia and possibly contributing to unnecessarily prolonged hospitalization due to what some consider marginal SaO2 readings. Primary Children's Medical Center is located in the foothills of the Wasatch mountain range in north central Utah. Because we are at approximately 5000 feet elevation, we set out to find some standard of normal saturations in a school age population at a similar altitude. Methods: Data were gathered during a health fair at a middle school in metropolitan Salt Lake City. All subjects were volunteers who came to the hospital's health fair booth. SaO2 was measured with an Ohmeda 3700 pulse oximeter. A clip on type finger probe was used. All subjects were standing during sampling and readings were taken after a steady heart rate was displayed. All subjects appeared in general good health and were in no apparent distress. Results: The table at the right describes the population tested. The mean age was 13.2 years (SD =0.8, median = 13). The mean SaO2 was 96.0 (SD = 1.8, median = 96). The following chart describes all saturations obtained per the number of subjects.

Age # # total

(years) males females

12 39 38 77

13 83 79 162

14 53 53 106

15 12 7 19

364

Conclusion: Nearly 10% of these apparently healthy subjects had saturations of < = 92%. The local practice of considering saturations of greater than 92% to be "normal" while less than 92% to be "abnormal" may overestimate the presence of hypoxemia that is clinically important. This assumes that none of the lower saturation readings, in this population, were reflective of disease processes, since we assume these school age children to be in reasonable health.

(See Original for Figure)

The 44th International Respiratory Congress Abstracts-On-DiskĀ®, November 7 - 10, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia.

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