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Overnight oximetry

What is overnight oximetry?

Overnight oximetry is a recording of the oxygen saturation and heart rate that is non-invasive.

What do we record?

We record the oxygen levels and heart rate with a soft probe that is either taped on the finger or the toe.

Photograph of oximeter on toe attached with a plaster and wire coming out of it

What are we looking for?

We are looking to see if there are any changes in the oxygen levels during sleep. A diary card will be completed during the study so if your child snores or holds their breath, these can be noted and are useful when looking at the results.

How long does it take?

It only lasts 1 night, and your child can go home first thing the next day.

What else is involved?

You will be welcomed to the Sleep House and shown to your bedroom. After settling in, a member of staff will go through some paperwork with you.

Once your child is ready for bed, staff will tape the oximetry sensor to your child’s finger or toe.

Photograph of hospital staff putting stick sensors on child

After this has been attached, you will both be left to settle and go to sleep.

Overnight, staff will monitor the signals via a video camera with your written consent. Staff may come in overnight to reattach the sensor if signals are lost.

Photograph of child in bed asleep

Are there any risks?

The sensor is not painful, however some children and young people may find it upsetting to have the sensor attached. We will work closely with you and your child to successfully apply the sensor.

What happens afterwards?

When your child wakes up and the study has finished, the sleep staff will remove your child’s sensor. We will then discharge you home promptly. The latest you can leave the sleep house is 7.30am. Your child can then go about their day as normal.

When will I get the results?

The sleep physiology staff will pass the data onto the sleep and respiratory team. The sleep and respiratory consultant will then look at the results and they will be discussed either at your next clinic appointment or the results will be sent to the referring doctor.


Results will not be available during your stay with us. It can take a few weeks to get the results.

Contact us

If you have any questions or concerns you can speak to the sleep physiology team on 0114 305 3042. Please leave a message on our answer phone and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

If you are unable to come in for this appointment, please contact the bookings team on 0114 226 0698 to rearrange a new date. We would really appreciate you letting us know as soon as possible if you are unable to attend, so we can offer the slot to another patient on our waiting list.

The Sleep House, 20 Claremont Crescent, Sheffield, S10 2TA

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Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

Resource number: SLP6

Resource Type: Article

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S10 2TH

United Kingdom

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