A pulse oximeter is a painless, non-invasive test that measures oxygen levels (or oxygen saturation levels) in the blood. Pulse oximeter like innovo deluxe fingertip pulse oximeter can quickly detect even small changes in how efficiently oxygen is being carried to the extremities furthest from the heart, such as the legs and arms.
Understanding oxygen saturation
Oxygen saturation (SpO2) measures the amount of oxygen carried by the blood compared to the total volume of blood. In other words, it is an estimate of how much oxygen the hemoglobin in your blood contains compared to how much it could contain. The pulse oximetry device shows this measurement as a simple percentage.
This is where things get more complicated. SpO2 can change during the day, especially when going from low-energy to high-energy activities. However, as long as SpO2 stays within a healthy range under these fluctuations, don’t worry.
Changes in activity are not the only factor that affects oxygen saturation. There are several harmful conditions and diseases that can negatively affect SpO2, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). People affected by these health problems often have low SpO2 averages and require supplemental oxygen and the use of other treatments.
Why do you need pulse oximetry?
There are many situations in which a doctor or you would like to measure oxygen levels in the blood using a pulse oximeter.
- During or after surgery.
- See if anyone can cope with increased activity levels.
- See if there are times when breathing stops during sleep (sleep apnea)
Pulse oximeters are also used to monitor the health status of people with conditions that affect oxygen levels in the blood, such as heart attack, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), anemia, lung cancer, and asthma.
How to read an oximeter?
The first number of most oximeters is SpO2, or peripheral oxygen saturation. According to Bickler, the SpO2 of an average healthy individual should be around 97%. Older people and people with lung disease may have lower average SpO2 readings, so talk to your doctor about your expected SpO2 range. This American Thoracic Society (PDF) explains that the level should be at least 89%.
The oximeter also displays the pulse rate and pulse rate of 60 to 100 beats per minute are average. Athletes may have even slower speeds. You may be concerned about an increase or decrease in your heart rate that differs from the average.
Pulse oximeter readings can be interrupted by movement or weak pulses. Bickler recommends warming your hands to improve precision and performance. To do this, place your hands in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. The American Lung Association says that dark nail polish can interfere with accurate measurements.
Additionally, oxygen level readings can fluctuate throughout the day, so it is recommended that anyone using a pulse oximeter take several measurements a day and take notes to share them with a health-care professional.