- Small beams of light pass through the blood in the finger, measuring the amount of oxygen;
- A receiver measures changes of light absorption in oxygenated or deoxygenated blood;
- The interval measured is converted into a pulse, used to measure blood circulation rate as well as oxygen saturation levels.
Monitoring the patient’s blood oxygen level might help to diagnose chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, pneumonia, anemia, lung cancer, heart attack, and congenital heart defects. There are also many other uses for pulse oximetry as in to assess how the lung medication is working, to evaluate how helpful a ventilator is or the patient’s ability for tolerating physical activity.
If a patients’ oxygen levels are out of normal ranges, typical symptoms may occur, such as but not limited to shortness of breath, chest pain, confusion, headache or rapid heartbeat.
95% of oxygen saturation is the normal level for healthy individuals. 92% shows a sign of hypoxemia or deficiency in oxygen levels in the body, and it signals problems related to breathing or circulation.
Higher than normal levels of oxygen in the blood are difficult to be present. The percentage to be higher than 100% may only happen with assisted breathing, like using supplemental oxygen. However, this can only be detected with the ABG test, and can not be detected with Pulse Oximeter.
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- Allows to monitor oxygen saturation over time;
- Alerts dangerously low oxygen levels;
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- Helps to assess the need for oxygen;
- Monitors oxygen levels in people under anesthesia.
Put the clip-like device on the patient finger. Keep the device on the finger as long as you want to monitor the patient’s pulse and oxygen saturation. If monitoring during physical activity, then measure the pulse during the exercise and also in the recovery period. During surgery, the pulse oximeter should be attached on a patient finger before and removed only after the patient is already awake.
Nailpolish on the fingers should be removed for the measurement.
- Using the pulse oximeter might cause skin redness and sensitivity;
- Prolonged use can cut off oxygen from surrounding vessels;
- False reading may happen due to an incorrect fit;
- Breath-holding dips the oxygen saturation for some time;
- After using pulse oximeters the patient should discuss the results and risks with a doctor.