The practicality and accuracy of a new ear oximeter was evaluated. The SaO2 measured with this instrument correlated significantly with simultaneous SaO2 measurements with another ear oximeter in 12 children (age three months to 20 years) with chronic pulmonary or cardiac diseases (r = 0.93, p less than 0.001), and also correlated significantly (r = 0.96, p less than 0.001) with calculated SaO2 based on blood gas measurements of blood from the left side of the heart obtained during cardiac catheterization. The SaO2 was then measured continuously and readings were taken before and five, 15, and 30 minutes after salbutamol inhalation by face mask in 18 children. Following treatment, mean PEFR increased significantly, and mean SaO2 was significantly lower than preinhalation values at five and 15 minutes postinhalation. At 30 minutes, SaO2 had returned to control values. In nine of 18 subjects, SaO2 fell greater than or equal to 5 percent. This response was not predictable on the basis of different parameters (treatment, heart rate, PEFR). The findings suggest that supplemental O2 may be required during the first 30 minutes posttreatment.