Optical oximetry, and near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) in particular, is a tool for assessment of the oxygenation status and hemodynamics of various organs, e.g. muscle and brain.
All cells in all organs of the body have a constant but variable need for oxygen. However the body stores for oxygen are minimal. So a constant and adequate supply of oxygen to the tissues through the circulation is essential. Any interference with tissue oxygenation will lead very rapidly to irreversible damage.
Near infrared spectroscopy, the technique on which the Oxymon, PortaMon, Octamon and Brite23 are based, relies mainly on two characteristics of human tissue. First, the relative transparency of tissue to light in the NIR range, and second, the oxygenation-dependent light absorbing characteristics of hemoglobin. By using a number of different wavelengths, the relative changes in hemoglobin concentration can be displayed continuously. Using this principle, it becomes possible to monitor:
- In the lab, or even in the field with the PortaMon
- Without the need for special infrastructure
- Without specially trained personnel
- Relatively inexpensively