How do you read a Pulse Oximeter?

How do you read a pulse oximeter?

The pulse oximeter will thus be able to tell you your oxygen saturation levels along with your heart rate.

  • During a pulse oximetry reading, a small clamp-like device is placed on a finger, earlobe, or toe.
  • Small beams of light pass through the blood in the finger, measuring the amount of oxygen.
  • It does this by measuring changes in light absorption in oxygenated or deoxygenated blood.
  • This is a painless process.
How do you read a Pulse Oximeter?
How do you read a Pulse Oximeter?

What are the 2 readings on a pulse oximeter?

Whether you are ill, experiencing a medical emergency, or the victim of an accident, the first thing a nurse will do is slip what looks like a small clip on one of your fingers to gather two pieces of information:

  • Measure blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) and
  • Pulse rate with a home pulse oximeter.

This non-invasive device clips onto the index finger to measure changes in the light wave spectrum through the finger during pulsation of blood, which generates a measure of blood oxygenation and pulse rate sent to the pulse oximeter.

How to use pulse oximeter?

Your pulse oximeter will give you a numerical reading — a percentage that indicates the level of oxygen saturation in your blood. If you’ve been to a doctor in the past years, you’ve experienced pulse oximetry.

The device works better with warmer hands than cold hands. And because oxygen levels can fluctuate, consider taking measurements a few times a day.

Also try it in different positions, such as while lying flat on your back or while walking. Keep notes to share with your doctor if needed.

Pulse oximeter – how it works?

Before you can really understand how a pulse oximeter works, you have to understand what it is measuring.

Oxygen is vital to life

Every organ, muscle, nerve, and tissue in the body needs oxygen to function the way it should. However, for oxygen to be used by the body, it must travel from the lungs to the intended destination via hemoglobin, or red blood cells.

If half of your hemoglobin cells are carrying oxygen, your oxygen saturation is 50 percent. If all of them are carrying oxygen, your oxygen saturation is 100 percent.

Blood is not stagnant in your veins

Instead, with every heartbeat, your blood travels too and from your extremities where your oxygen levels are often tested.

However, rather than trying to pulse red and infrared light through your finger and hopefully capture a reading timed perfectly with your heart rate, the pulse oximeter emits a constant stream of light.

It must, therefore, calculate the “changing absorbance” in your finger – the light absorbance that happens with every heartbeat. That is why a pulse oximeter produces two readings – your pulse rate and your oxygen absorption.

Can the oximeter be used at home?

Pulse oximeters can also be used at home to monitor and provide peace of mind for anyone with a condition that may cause them to experience periods of low oxygen levels.

What are pulse oximeter used for?

For the measurement of oxygen level in the blood, the pulse oximeter indicates how well the heart pumps oxygen throughout the body. For this reason, pulse oximeters are used most often in hospital settings. They can quickly alert clinicians to low oxygen levels in patients, especially newborns and patients under anesthesia, and help clinicians assess whether a patient needs or responds well to supplemental oxygen.

More on this story

Pulse Oximeters: Answering Your Frequently Asked Questions

Which finger is best for pulse oximeter

Which finger is best for pulse oximeter?

As per the studies, your right hand’s middle finger shows the best results. Make sure to take off any nail polish and avoid using cold fingers as the readings may not show correctly.

What are the 2 readings on a pulse oximeter

What are the 2 readings on a pulse oximeter?

A finger pulse oximeter measures two things:
-Blood Oxygen Saturation
-Pulse Rate

Pulse Oximeter made in USA

Pulse Oximeter made in USA

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Normal pulse rate in Oximeter

Normal pulse rate in Oximeter

A normal resting heart rate for adults ranges from 70 to 99 beats per minute. Generally, a lower heart rate at rest implies more efficient heart function and better cardiovascular fitness.

Fingertip Pulse Oximeters

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