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BACKGROUND: A pretrial clinical improvement project for the BOOST-II UK trial of oxygen saturation targeting revealed an artefact affecting saturation profiles obtained from the Masimo Set Radical pulse oximeter. METHODS: Saturation was recorded every 10 s for up to 2 weeks in 176 oxygen dependent preterm infants in 35 UK and Irish neonatal units between August 2006 and April 2009 using Masimo SET Radical pulse oximeters. Frequency distributions of % time at each saturation were plotted. An artefact affecting the saturation distribution was found to be attributable to the oximeter's internal calibration algorithm. Revised software was installed and saturation distributions obtained were compared with four other current oximeters in paired studies. RESULTS: There was a reduction in saturation values of 87-90%. Values above 87% were elevated by up to 2%, giving a relative excess of higher values. The software revision eliminated this, improving the distribution of saturation values. In paired comparisons with four current commercially available oximeters, Masimo oximeters with the revised software returned similar saturation distributions. CONCLUSIONS: A characteristic of the software algorithm reduces the frequency of saturations of 87-90% and increases the frequency of higher values returned by the Masimo SET Radical pulse oximeter. This effect, which remains within the recommended standards for accuracy, is removed by installing revised software (board firmware V4.8 or higher). Because this observation is likely to influence oxygen targeting, it should be considered in the analysis of the oxygen trial results to maximise their generalisability.

Original publication




Journal article


Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed

Publication Date





F429 - F433


Algorithms, Artifacts, Calibration, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Infant, Premature, Monitoring, Physiologic, Oximetry, Oxygen, Oxygen Inhalation Therapy, Reproducibility of Results, Software