What Is Pulse Oximetry?


This article is a great introduction to the basics of what pulse oximetry is, and why it might be used in your medical history.

What is oxygen saturation?

Saturation refers to how much oxygen is in the blood. When the oxygen saturation falls below 87%, you’re in an anemic state and may experience symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, and lightheadedness. Normal saturation levels are 95-98%.

Pulse oximetry measures your O2 saturation with a sensor inserted into a finger or arm. By viewing the recorded data over time, doctors can determine if there is a change in saturation levels and identify any potential causes such as decreased breathing, injuries, or disease.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Pulse Oximetry

There are many reasons why pulse oximetry may be an important tool in the diagnosis and treatment of patient illness. Advantages include that it may be used to predict the severity of respiratory distress syndrome, monitor patients during surgery, and determine the need for intubation. Disadvantages include that pulse oximetry is not specific for detecting pulmonary edema or other lung diseases, and it provides only a crude measure of oxygen utilization.

Who Should Get a Pulse Oximeter?

If you’re unsure if you need a pulse oximeter, start by answering these three questions: Why are you interested in getting one? How frequently do you have to monitor your oxygen levels? What are your health concerns? If you can answer “yes” to all of the above, then a pulse oximeter may be a good investment for you.

People who are at risk for hypoxia (lack of oxygen) due to illness or injury should definitely consider getting a pulse oximeter.risk factors for hypoxia include: congestive heart failure, diabetes, severe asthma, burns, vomiting and diarrhea. Other people who may find value in monitoring their oxygen levels on a regular basis include pregnant women, athletes and those who work at high altitudes. </content>

Anatomy of a Pulse Oximete

What is pulse oximetry? Pulse oximetry is a technology that measures the level of oxygen in a person’s blood. Oxygen levels are important because they indicate whether a person is getting enough oxygen. Pulse oximetry can be used to diagnose and monitor conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and even Buerger’s disease.


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