Noise Pollution Obscures Pulse Ox Tone

Marc A. Rozner, PhD, MD

To the Editor

While I agree that the pulse oximeter tone, alarms, and so forth should be audible and that the pulse oximeter tone should reflect the patient’s oxygen saturation, it is often VERY difficult to hear these sounds over the 80-90 decibel sound pressure level of the music being blasted by the surgeons (and, unfortunately, now the anesthesia teams).

We need a limit on the volume of the “music” that is played in the OR. Often, when I am doing a case where I have had to place a temporary pacemaker (like a pacemaker-dependent patient having a mastectomy overlying the generator), many of the surgeons play music loudly enough that I have to turn it down myself.

It is only a matter of time before someone (the patient) gets hurt.

Marc A. Rozner, PhD, MD
Houston, TX