Accuracy of Hypoxia-Based Baby Monitors Is Concerning

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 22, 2018 — Findings regarding the accuracy of two pulse oximetry-based baby monitors are concerning, according to a research letter published in the Aug. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Christopher P. Bonafide, M.D., from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and colleagues purchased smartphone-integrated consumer baby monitors that use pulse oximetry (Owlet Smart Sock 2 [monitor A] and Baby Vida [monitor B]). Infants aged 0 to 6 months hospitalized in general pediatrics and cardiology wards were enrolled. Infants were monitored on one foot using a Masimo Radical-7 monitor (reference); each consumer monitor was applied to the other foot of all 30 infants in a random sequence for 60 minutes.

The researchers recorded 2,466 stable hypoxemia and 1,801 stable pulse rate points. The sensitivity and specificity for hypoxemia were 88.8 and 85.7 percent, respectively, and for bradycardia were 0.0 and 100 percent, respectively, for monitor A. For hypoxemia, the sensitivity and specificity were 0.0 and 100 percent, respectively, for monitor B, while for bradycardia they were 0.0 and 82.3 percent, respectively.

“Monitor A detected hypoxemia but performed inconsistently. Monitor B never detected hypoxemia and also displayed falsely low pulse rates,” the authors write. “As more neonate and infant vital sign monitors emerge in this largely unregulated market, physicians and parents should exercise caution incorporating data from these monitors into medical decisions.”

One author disclosed financial ties to the Zoll Foundation.

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Posted: August 2018

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