Although many interventions for pneumonia exist, nearly 15% of childhood deaths worldwide occur due to pneumonia. A pneumococcal vaccination helps reduce a child’s chance of developing pneumonia, but this may be unattainable in resource-poor countries. Research has recently proven that indicators such as hypoxia and malnutrition are predictors of mortality in children that were hospitalized with pneumonia.
This study considered the implementation of using pulse oximetry devices as a prognostics tool to determine the difference between severe and non-severe cases of pneumonia in children under the age of five, within 15 different countries spanning from Asia to Africa. Nearly 1.5 million children who have a severe case of pneumonia have an abnormally low concentration of oxygen in their blood. By using a cost-effective prognostic and diagnostic tool, such as a pulse oximetry device, practitioners can better monitor the success or failure of treatment in a child with pneumonia.
Treatment for pneumonia may be effective for some children, but for those severe cases in which a child’s blood oxygen level is abnormally low, treatment is much less effective, leading to a higher mortality rate. This particular study has shown that use of a pulse oximetry device on the front end, such as diagnosing pneumonia, is also helpful because many symptoms of pneumonia mimic symptoms of other illnesses.
Pulse oximetry systems used today are non-invasive, produce results fast, and require a minimal amount of infrastructure. A pulse oximetry device is relatively low-cost and requires little training to operate. Use of this device would be cost effective and efficient, especially for resource-poor settings.
Airway health is an important factor when it comes to our health. The AAPMD believes that hypoxia and malnutrition are important pillars when it comes to the care for the development, restoration, and protection of the airway. The result of this study has determined that using a pulse oximetry device could save many lives and also is cost effective when diagnosing and treating pneumonia in children. Most importantly, this study further connects the link between airway health and this life-threatening disease.
Floyd, J., Wu, L., Burgess D.H., Izadnegahdar, R. Murkanga, D., & Ghani, A. (2015, December). Evaluating the impact of pulse oximetry on childhood pneumonia mortality in resource-poor settings. Nature, 528(7580), S53-S59. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v528/n7580_supp_custom/pdf/nature16043.pdf