Pulse Oxygen Saturation Values in a Healthy School-Aged Population

Joshua W Elder, Suzanne Booth Baraff, Wesley N. Gaschler, Larry J. Baraff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Objectives The purpose of this study was to determine the normal values of oxygen saturation in a healthy school-aged pediatric population. Methods This study enrolled students in grades K-8 at an elementary and middle school in Los Angeles. Although all students were invited to participate, only pulse oximetry results among healthy students were included. Healthy students were defined as not having asthma, bronchitis, a recent cold or pneumonia within the past week, any chronic lung disease, or any heart condition. Results Two hundred forty-eight students participated in the study, and 246 students met the inclusion criteria. Pulse oxygen saturation values ranged from 97% to 100% with a mean of 98.7% (95% confidence interval [CI], 98.6%-99.8%) and median of 99%. The distribution of measured pulse oximetry values were 97%: 16 (95% CI, 6.5%), 98%: 45 (95% CI, 18.3%), 99%: 184 (95% CI, 74.8%), and 100%: 1 (95% CI, 0.4%). Conclusions Although the conventional wisdom is that pulse oximetry values 95% or greater are normal, these data suggest that the normal oxygen saturation range should be between 97% and 100%. Values of 95% and 96% should increase clinical suspicion of underlying disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-647
Number of pages3
JournalPediatric Emergency Care
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • healthy school-aged population
  • pulse oximetry
  • pulse oxygen saturation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Emergency Medicine


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