Pulse Oximeters are compact, lightweight, portable devices that are used to monitor a person’s heart rate or pulse rate and the oxygen saturation level in their bloodstream. It is a non-invasive, easy-to-use method for diagnosing symptoms of cardiovascular diseases, pulmonary diseases, asthma, pneumonia, and anemia. A pulse oximeter displays two readings on its digital display. The reading displayed by SaO2 is the unit of measurement that denotes the oxygen saturation level in a person’s bloodstream. In medical terms, this is known as arterial oxygen saturation.
How to use a pulse oximeter
For a healthy adult, the normal oxygen saturation level is between 95% and 100%. But if the oxygen saturation level falls below 88%, it should be a cause of concern. A low oxygen saturation level indicates that either your heart is unable to pump oxygenated blood throughout the body or your lungs are unable to absorb a sufficient amount of oxygen from the environment.
A low oxygen saturation level can lead to serious medical complications like hypoxemia. An average adult’s resting pulse rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute (bpm). If your reading is anywhere between 60 to 100 bpm, it means that your heart is in a healthy condition. However, if your resting pulse rate is more than 110 beats bpm, it means that your heart muscles are working extra hard to pump blood around the body. It could be a sign of a potential cardiovascular disease.
To measure your pulse rate and oxygen saturation level, simply clip the pulse oximeter to your index finger and wait for the readings on the digital display to become stable. The pulse oximeter gives you instant readings with utmost accuracy. It is an FDA-approved, painless, and affordable method of monitoring your pulse rate and oxygen saturation level right from the comfort of your home.
Popular pulse oximeters include: ChoiceMMed Fingertip Pulse Oximeter C20, Drive Medical Fingertip Pulse Oximeter, LifeSource Fingertip Pulse Oximeter.
What is a Pulse Oximeter and how does it work
Pulse oximetry is a device that measures the oxygen saturation of hemoglobin in arterial blood. A pulse oximeter consists of an infrared light-emitting diode (IRED) and photoelectric cell, which are used to measure the ratio of red to infrared light absorption by oxygenated and deoxygenated hemoglobin in peripheral capillaries. The more oxyhemoglobin there is, the more red light is absorbed.
Pulse oximeters are used to measure the oxygen saturation of the blood. The device typically consists of a small sensor with two lights: infrared and red. The pulse oximeter shines light through your finger and sends it back through an infrared filter. It then measures the amount of red and infrared light that has passed through your finger, which is its measurement for oxygen saturation.
Blood oxygen levels rise and fall throughout the day, so it's important for people to track their oxygen levels multiple times throughout the day. The best way to take a reading is with warm hands because colder hands can make the readings inaccurate.
The devices are used to measure the heart rate and the amount of oxygen carried by the blood. This makes the use ideal for athletes to achieve and maintain the optimal training level. Pulse oximeters are among the fitness trends that are being used by professionals and amateurs in more and more sports.
Advantage: It is a non-invasive test as it does not involve any injections or blood draws.
Benefits of using Pulse Oximeter
For patients prone to heart pathologies, lung problems and loss of consciousness, it is interesting to monitor their pulsed or arterial oxygen saturation.
For athletes, it is possible to monitor the training in a targeted manner and to move within the optimal training range. Thus, better performance is possible without subsequent long periods of recovery.
- Training goals can be achieved faster and at the same time with fewer health risks.
- An overtraining is avoided.
In medicine, the oximeter can also be used for monitoring during anesthesia, for checking breathing capacity in an emergency, or for monitoring the heartbeat.
How reliable are pulse oximeters
When it comes to the accuracy of pulse oximeters, there is no universal rule. The pulse oximeter you use will depend on your needs and availability. Each device has its own set of advantages and disadvantages; however, the important thing to remember is that all devices are subject to errors.
Situations where false readings can occur
- Low perfusion - less blood flow to the tissue, which can result in inaccurate readings.
- One of the many factors that can reduce the accuracy of a pulse oximetry reading is significant motion. The movement of the person where equipment is being used will result in inconsistent readings.
- Artificial nails can have a negative impact on pulse oximetry readings. This is because the nail bed is less vascularized, and it can be difficult to detect subtle changes in blood flow through the nail bed, leading to false readings.
- Low oxygen saturation (below 80%) can reduce the accuracy of a pulse oximetry reading.
- This device may not be as accurate on patients with skin that is thicker than normal. In these cases, the artery does not press as firmly as it should against the sensor and as a result, the reading will be inaccurate.
- People who smoke can have a higher reading on their oximeter than they actually have. By smoking, a person is inhaling particulate matter and carbon monoxide which may cause changes in the amount of oxygen in the blood.
Also, be aware of the size of a finger, toe, etc. If it is too large in relation to the sensor, the light may not be detected and the sensor may be damaged. Therefore, make sure that the device has the correct sensors for multiple use (newborns, children, adults).
Pulse Oximeter Uses
- By using pulse oximetry to assess someone's ability to tolerate increased physical activity is, especially during exercise, more efficient than manually assessing blood pressure. It can be used for physical activity to see how well your body is adapting to the increased demands being placed on it. It’s expected that someone who has reduced fitness levels will have lower levels of oxygen in their blood, while someone with higher fitness levels would have more oxygen in their blood.
- When somebody has sleep apnea, they are often monitored with a pulse oximeter to track their breathing.
Halo Healthcare has been serving Canada and the United States for many years. We pride ourselves on giving each customer personalized attention to their needs. Order your Pulse Oximeters today from Halo Healthcare!