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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 94

of 'Pulse oximetry in adults'

The effect of nail polish and acrylic nails on pulse oximetry reading using the Lifebox oximeter in Nigeria.
Desalu I, Diakparomre OI, Salami AO, Abiola AO
Niger Postgrad Med J. 2013 Dec;20(4):331-5.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES - Pulse oximetry is mandatory during anaesthesia, sedation and transfer of critically ill patients. The effect of nail polish and acrylic nails on the accuracy of saturation reading is inconsistent. The Lifebox pulse oximeter is reliable and recommended for low and middle income countries. We investigated its accuracy in the presence of 4 nail colours and acrylic nails SUBJECTS AND METHODS Fifty non-smoking volunteers had their fingers numbered from right to left (little finger of right hand =1 and little finger of left hand =10). Alternate fingers were nails painted with clear, red, brown and black nail polish and the 5th finger had acrylic nail applied. The corresponding finger on the other hand acted as control. The oxygen saturation was determined using the Lifebox pulse oximeter. Results All fingers (100%) with clear nail polish, red nail polish and acrylic nails recorded a saturation value. Each of the mean saturation value for clear nail polish, red nail polish and acrylic nails was not significantly different from the control mean (p= 0.378, 0.427 and 0.921). Only 12% and 64% of nails polished black and brown respectively recorded a saturation value. The mean SpO- for black and brown polish were significantly different from their control mean (p<0.001). CONCLUSION Black and brown polish resulted in a significant decrease in SpO with the Lifebox oximeter. Dark coloured nail polish should be removed prior to SpO2 determination to ensure that accurate readings can be obtained.
Department of Anaesthesia, College of Medicine, University of Lagos/ Lagos University Teaching Hospital Nigeria.ronkedesalu@yahoo.com