Splanchnic ischaemia can ultimately lead to cellular hypoxia and necrosis, and may well contribute to the development of multiple organ failures and increased mortality. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to monitor abdominal organ blood oxygen saturation (SpO2). Pulse oximetry has been widely accepted as a reliable method for monitoring oxygen saturation of arterial blood. Animal studies have also shown it to be effective in the monitoring of blood oxygen saturation in the splanchnic region. However, commercially available pulse oximeter probes are not suitable for the continuous assessment of SpO2 in the splanchnic region. Therefore, there is a need for a new sensor technology that will allow the continuous measurement of SpO2 in the splanchnic area pre-operatively, operatively and post-operatively. For this purpose, a new fibre optic sensor and processing system utilising the principle of reflectance pulse oximetry has been developed. The accuracy in the estimation of SpO2 in pulse oximetry depends on the quality and amplitude of the photoplethysmographic (PPG) signal and for this reason an experimental procedure was carried out to examine the effect of the source-detector separation distance on the acquired PPG signals, and to ultimately select an optimal separation for the final design of the fibre-optic probe. PPG signals were obtained from the finger for different separation distances between the emitting and detecting fibres. Good quality PPG signals with large amplitudes and high signal-to-noise ratio were detected in the range of 3mm to 6mm. At separation distances between 1mm and 2mm, PPG signals were erratic with no resemblance to a conventional PPG signal. At separation distances greater than 6mm, the amplitudes of PPG signals were very small and not appropriate for processing. This investigation indicates the suitability of optical fibres as a new pulse oximetry sensor for estimating blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) in the splanchnic region.