TGA warns against 'over-reliance’ on pulse oximetry with COVID-19

Patients need to understand the limitations of the devices and the need for a doctor to interpret their full clinical picture

The TGA is warning pulse oximeters may miss hypoxia in darker-skinned patients with COVID-19 managed at home, with GPs reminded to base treatment decisions on serial readings.

As tens of thousands of Australians manage their COVID-19 at home, many under the care of their GP or self-monitoring, pharmacists have been reporting a surge in sales of pulse oximeters.

Authorities are also providing the devices to patients at risk of becoming seriously ill.

But in a medical device safety update issued on Monday,