There will be a delay between an event such as a patient taking off an oxygen mask and the subsequently less oxygenated blood passing through the finger the probe is on. It has been reported that there will be a longer delay if the pulse oximeter probe is attached to a toe compared with a finger or ear.
Another point is that pulse oximeters average signals over a period of time, this will cause a delay in giving a new (real) oxygen saturation.
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page last modified: 04/09/2005