A Guide To The Perfusion Index In Pulse Oximeters

A Guide To The Perfusion Index In Pulse Oximeters

Have you ever wondered what the Perfusion Index numbers in your pulse oximeters mean? What exactly is Perfusion Index and what does it tell you about your health? This article aims to address these questions so you can better understand what the Perfusion Index is all about.             

In a nutshell, Perfusion Index (PI) is basically the ratio measuring pulsatile blood flow as compared to non-pulsatile blood flow within an individual’s peripheral tissue, usually the fingertip, ear lobe or toe. PI indicates the strength of the pulse and can range between 0.02% in weak pulses to 20% in extremely strong pulses. This Perfusion Index can vary due to many factors, and hence is difficult to outline a healthy and unhealthy level as every patient has their own “normal” level of perfusion index.

Perfusion Index and pulse oximeters

Most of the time, the Perfusion Index levels is monitored the use of a pulse oximeters. In fact, Perfusion Index can be used as an indicator of reliability of the pulse oximeter reading. Should the perfusion index reading be under0.4%, it usually means that the reading on the oximeter can be unreliable. Common reasons of poor perfusion include diabetes, obesity, blood clots and peripheral artery diseases.

For these people, it is essential to have a reliable oximeter that is designed and suited for low PI readings. In most pulse oximeters, there is a Plethysmograph available, and it is basically a graphic representation of the levels of perfusion index.

Applications and uses of the Perfusion Index

In most hospitals, a perfusion index is used along with other parameters to monitor patients who are critically ill. Over the years, studies have proved that Perfusion Index readings have a high correlation with the refill time of capillaries as well as central-to-toe differences in temperature.

For newborn babies in intensive care, a low PI reading is objective and used as an accurate measure of acute illness. In this case, it is a preferred approach as compared to qualitative ones like foot warmth.

Furthermore, Perfusion Index can also act as a form of early warning for possible anesthetic failure. Once again, studies have proved a correlation between an increase in Perfusion Index levels and dilation of the peripheral blood vessel, which usually occurs just before anesthesia. Lacking this spike in peripheral blood vessel results in a lack of the anesthetic effect.

Even as of now, clinical applications are still being discovered as to how perfusion index levels can be applied in the medical industry.

Purchase Pulse Rate Oximeters to Monitor Your Perfusion Index

For those who seek an oximeter that can accurately measure your perfusion index, or just want to monitor your health, oxygen levels and heart rate, you can make use of a fingertip pulse oximeter from LOOKEE® Tech. The LOOKEE® Tech fingertip pulse oximeter is Health Canada and FDA approved and features a large OLED screen for easy reading purposes.

Should you have any concerns or questions about pulse oximeters and perfusion index, feel free to contact us today!