Tools of the trade: Nellcor Oximax N-65

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n65_oximax_PPReview by Dr Amanda Wong, Spreyton Veterinary Service, Spreyton, TAS

Anaesthetic monitoring should be performed continuously. Not only is it a basic legal requirement but also a huge duty of care we have to our patients. For this reason, our clinic chose to purchase this pulse oximeter as a means of improving our ability to monitor anaesthetics at a high standard.

What’s good about it Without question, the most useful monitor in our practice is the pulse oximeter as it provides immediate notification if something goes wrong. A fast response is critical in identifying and responding to emergency situations. The pulse oximeter provides information on the pulse rate, peripheral perfusion and oxygen saturation of arterial blood. Since the monitor identifies each pulse with a beep, the information provides constant monitoring of heart function on a beat-by-beat basis. The audible beep of the pulse rate has numerous benefits but particularly that the anaesthetist can constantly monitor heart function without being physically attached to the patient via a stethoscope. This pulse oximeter is small, portable, non-invasive and easy to use. There are endless options where it can be utilised; I’ve even attached it to a horse’s tongue during a quick field stitch-up or castration.

What’s not so good The pulse oximeter comes with some assumptions that if not interpreted, provide incorrect results. If the probe has been attached to the patient’s tongue for a long period, it can impede blood flow and result in a lower oxygen saturation reading. For this reason, any low reading should be further assessed by replacing the probe and taking another reading. Movement also interferes with obtaining accurate readings and so can be difficult with a conscious animal. In cases of carboxyhaemoglobin or methaemoglobin saturation of blood, the readings can become unreliable.

Where did you get it Vetquip (www.vetquip.com.au).

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