The effect of nail polish on pulse oximetry measurements – a pilot study in female volunteers
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Students’ Scientific Society, Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Faculty of Medical Sciences in Katowice, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland
Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Faculty of Medical Sciences in Katowice, Medical University of Silesia, Katowice, Poland
Corresponding author
Tomasz Cyganek   

Studenckie Koło Naukowe przy Klinice Anestezjologii i Intensywnej Terapii, Wydział Nauk Medycznych w Katowicach, Śląski Uniwersytet Medyczny w Katowicach, ul. Medyków 14, 40-752 Katowice, tel. +48 533 637 312
Ann. Acad. Med. Siles. 2022;76:91-95
It is recommended to remove all nail polish before hospital admission to prevent erroneous oximeter readings. Although studies on the effect of color and type of nail polish on pulse oximetry are scarce, some differences were observed depending on the color of nail varnish. In this study we sought to evaluate the impact of the type and color of nail polish on saturation (SpO2) values in healthy female volunteers.

Material and methods:
169 females with nail polish applied to nails had their SpO2 measured with a pulse oximeter. After five minutes of rest, SpO2 was assessed from a finger and, as control, from an earlobe. The differences were subjected to statistical analysis.

169 paired measurements were obtained. Statistically significant differences were observed for enameled (p < 0.01) and hybrid (p < 0.01), but not for gel (p = 0.25) nails. As far as the colors are concerned, beige (p < 0.01), red (p < 0.01) and violet (p = 0.047) cover had a significant impact on the SpO2 readings. The differences in the measurements were 1%.

Classic nail polish, hybrid polish, and the colours beige, red and violet may affect SpO2 readings but this effect is low and of no clinical significance.

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