Journal of Biomedical OpticsThree-wavelength technique for the measurement of oxygen saturation in arterial blood and in venous blood
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Pulse oximetry is an optical technique for the assessment of oxygen saturation in arterial blood and is based on the different light absorption spectra for oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin and on two-wavelength photoplethysmographic (PPG) measurement of arterial blood volume increase during systole. The technique requires experimental calibration for the determination of the relationship between PPG-derived parameters and arterial oxygen saturation, and this calibration is a source of error in the method. We suggest a three-wavelength PPG technique for the measurement of arterial oxygen saturation that has no need for calibration if the three wavelengths are properly selected in the near-infrared region. The suggested technique can also be implemented for the assessment of venous oxygen saturation by measuring the decrease in transmission of light through a tissue after increasing its blood volume by venous occlusion. The oxygen saturation in venous blood is a parameter that is related to oxygen consumption in tissue and to tissue blood flow. The three-wavelength method has the potential to provide accurate oxygen saturation measurements in arterial and venous blood, but experimental validation of the theory is still required to confirm this claim.