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Oxygen Saturation

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Updated September 06, 2013

Definition: Oxygen saturation measures the amount of oxygen carrying hemoglobin in the blood.

The blood of a term baby, like that of a child or adult, should be 95 to 100% saturated with oxygen. The blood of a premature baby receiving extra oxygen is usually maintained between about 88 and 95% saturation, not higher, to prevent retinopathy of prematurity, a serious eye condition.

In the hospital, pulse oximetry is used to measure the amount of oxygen in the blood. When the blood does not have enough oxygen, it is called a desaturation. Desaturations can cause a bluish tint to the lips or skin and cause a baby to lose tone or become “floppy.”

Also Known As: O2 sats, oxygen sats
Examples:
The baby's oxygen saturation was 100%, so the nurses knew that she didn't require any additional oxygen.
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