Intravenous injection of indocyanine green results in an artificial transient desaturation by pulse oximetry

Lilangi S. Ediriwickrema, Jasmine H. Francis, Vittoria Arslan-Carlon, Paul H. Dalecki, Scott E. Brodie, Brian P. Marr, David H. Abramson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: To describe a case series of transient oxygen desaturation measured by pulse oximetry during the intravenous infusion of indocyanine green to enhance transpupillary thermotherapy in treating retinoblastoma after ophthalmic artery chemosurgery. Methods: Retrospective descriptive case series. Results: The intravenous administration of indocyanine green for ophthalmic angiography resulted in a transient drop in oxygen saturation as measured by Nellcor fingertip pulse oximetry in three children with retinoblastoma receiving indocyanine green-guided transpupillary thermotherapy. The magnitude of reduction ranged from 92% to 94% from an initial reading of 99% to 100% in each case, with an average duration of 3 minutes. Concurrent measurement of blood pressure, pulse, and expired CO2 showed no changes during this process. Conclusion: Administration of intravenous indocyanine green resulted in a transient desaturation by oximetry during transpupillary thermotherapy for children with retinoblastoma under anesthesia because of the fluorescent dye's absorption of red light in a manner similar to that of deoxygenated hemoglobin, thereby leading to transient instrument misinterpretation and miscalculation of arterial oxygenation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-255
Number of pages4
JournalRetinal Cases and Brief Reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - 6 Jun 2015


  • desaturation
  • diode laser
  • indocyanine green
  • oxygen
  • pulse oximetry
  • retinoblastoma
  • transpupillary thermotherapy


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