The effect of henna paste on oxygen saturation reading obtained by pulse oximetry

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Posted by Catherine Cartwright Jones on October 1, 2002 at 18:13:03:

In reply to: Question for Catherine... posted by Renee on October 1, 2002 at 03:47:04:

Physicians generally have access to Lexus/Nexus database for articles
in publication, so if they want they can get chapter and verse on this:

"The effect of henna paste on oxygen saturation reading obtained by
pulse oxymetry. "
Sulaiman a. Al-Majed, Mohammed S Harakti
Tropican and Geographical Medicine 1994, Vol 46 #1/38-39

Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, King Khalid University
Hospital, King Saud University, Riyadh, saudi Arabia.

a controlled study was designed to examine the effect of red and bladk
henna on the measurement of oxygen saturation by pulse oximetry.
Fifty adult normal female volunteers had their left thumb coloured
with red henna (40) or black henna (10). The uncoloured right thumb
was used as a control. All measurements were done under room
temperature and the same pulse oximeter was used in all volunteers.
In the red henna group there was no difference in on oximetry reading
between right and left thumb. In contrast, the thumb coloured with
black henna gave no reading when compared to the uncoloured right
thumb. On the basis of this study, pulse oximetry is not limited by
red henna while black henna has a potential of causeing major error in
the measurement of oxygen saturation by pulse oximetry. In these
cases we recommend to use ear oximetry for accurate measurement of
oxygen saturation.

There is a brief. mention that the black henna is black as the result
of addition of synthetic dye.

Briefly, red henna doesn't skew pulse oximetry readings. Black henna
does. Nail polish does.

If you go into the hospital with henna on your hands ... might hand
this to someone so they'll get off your case. In my experience, when
I've told a physician something I knew perfectly well to be accurate,
tested, and published ..... I've gotten a pat on the head and murmer
of "don't worry, dear, we know best" and been ignored. Handing them
medical journal references makes a difference. They at least now
treat me like I'm potentially dangerous and likely to file a lawsuit
if I'm not taken seriously.


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