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Pulse oximeter devices have a higher error rate in black patients

The analysis, of 10,789 paired test results from 1,333 white and 276 black patients hospitalized at the University of Michigan earlier this year, found that pulse oximetry overestimated oxygen levels 3.6% of the time in white patients, but got it wrong almost 12% of the time, or more than three times as often, in black patients.

In these patients, pulse oximeter measurements incorrectly indicated that the oxygen saturation level was between 92% and 96%, when in fact it was as low as 88% (results were adjusted for depending on age, gender and cardiovascular disease).

Oxygen levels below 95 percent are considered abnormal, so “a small difference in the pulse oximetry value within this 92 to 96 percent range could be the difference in deciding whether the patient is really sick or not. really sick, or need different treatment or not, ”Dr Sjoding said.

Another analysis of the study looked at a multi-hospital database to compare 37,308 similar matched test results from critical care patients who had been hospitalized at 178 medical centers in 2014 and 2015. This analysis, which did not was not adjusted, found similar deviations.

Dr Sjoding said he and his colleagues embarked on the study after hospitals in Ann Arbor, Mich., Which typically treat a predominantly white patient population, received a large influx of patients with Gravely ill Coviders from Detroit, many of whom were African American. “We started to see deviations with the arterial blood gases, and we didn’t know what to think about it,” he said.

He remembers reading an article in The Boston Review in August about racial disparities in the accuracy of pulse oximeter readings. The author of this article, Amy Moran-Thomas, became interested in the device after buying one when her husband was sick with Covid. She unearthed scientific papers published as early as 2005 and 2007 that reported inaccuracies in pulse oximeter readings in dark-skinned individuals at low levels of oxygen saturation.

Dr Sjoding and his colleagues decided to conduct a study using data that had already been collected during routine hospital care at the hospital. “What we were seeing anecdotally was exactly what we ended up showing in the last article, that on the monitor in the patient’s room the pulse oximeter read ‘normal’, but when we got blood gas arterial saturation on the gas was low, ”he says.

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Justice Kavanaugh corrects an error of opinion that has alarmed Democrats.

Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh corrected an error on Wednesday in an opinion he issued in a Supreme Court ruling that banned Wisconsin from counting mail-in ballots that arrive after election day .

The notice, released on Monday, alarmed Democrats, not only because of its implications for the election results in wobbly state Wisconsin, but also because they saw it as public support for the argument. President Trump’s unfounded claim that results mattered after November. 3 could be riddled with fraudulent votes.

Justice Kavanaugh wrote that while some states had changed their voting rules in response to the pandemic, others had not. He chose Vermont as an example of a state that had not changed its rules because of the coronavirus.

The ruling, made just over a week before the election, sparked a complaint from Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos. He pointed out that the state had in fact changed its rules to accommodate voters worried about voting in person during a pandemic.

Mr Condos wrote to the court clerk and said Vermont made two key changes this year: all active registered voters received a ballot and prepaid envelope, and election officials were allowed to begin processing the ballots in the 30 days preceding until polling day.

“Vermont is not an exact comparison of Justice Kavanaugh’s claim,” he wrote.

Mr. Condos also posted a copy of the letter on Twitter saying, “When it comes to making decisions about the suffrage of American citizens, facts matter.”

As of Wednesday evening, Judge Kavanaugh’s opinion was changed to say Vermont and other states had not changed their “election deadline” rules in response to the pandemic.