What is a Pulse Oximeter?
As we know that every system and organ in the body needs oxygen to survive. Without oxygen, our cells start to malfunction and eventually die. Cell death can cause severe problems and lead to organ failure as well. The oxygen is transported to the organs by getting filtered through the lungs. The lungs then distribute oxygen to the blood. A pulse oximeter is used to measures the percentage of oxygen present in the hemoglobin proteins. The oxygen saturation usually indicates how much oxygen is getting to the organs. The pulse oximetry normal range should be between 95 % & 100 %.
Oxygen saturation levels below 90 percent are considered abnormally low and can be referred to as a clinical emergency. The best pulse oximeter is a small, portable medical device that is used to measures the oxygen saturation levels in the blood. It is clipped on the finger, toe, or ear lobe of a person to check the oxygen level. It is a non-invasive blood pulse oximeter tool that quickly determines how efficiently the blood is being sent from the heart and lungs to the various organs.
What does a pulse oximeter measure?
A pulse oximeter measures two things:-
- Blood Oxygen Saturation level (SpO2): In this measurement indicates the percentage of blood that is saturated. It is basically an estimation of the oxygen amount that is carried out by the red blood cells.
- Pulse Rate: Pulse rate the heart rate that indicates the number of heartbeats per minute.
How Does a Pulse Oximeter Work?
A Pulse Oximeter works on the principle of spectrophotometry. It is placed on the fingertip or toe or earlobe of the person, and then it beams small multiple rays of light that passes through the blood. The light sensors measure the number of blood cells that carry oxygen and those that don’t. The oxygenated blood is darker than the deoxygenated blood due to which the highly sensitive light sensors detect the variations of light. The light absorption patterns between the oxygen-carrying blood and non-oxygen blood are then translated into the measurement.
Why Does One Need a Pulse Oximeter?
A pulse oximeter is used to check one’s heart which is pumping oxygen through the body. Some patients are advised to use this tool to monitor their blood oxygen saturation levels regularly. Peoples having respiratory or cardiac issues may experience changes in oxygen saturation levels. In such cases, you must keep a pulse oximeter to spot the oxygen saturation levels, whenever necessary.
Some medical conditions that may affect the blood oxygen meter saturation levels are discussed below:-
- Lung cancer
- Heart Attack
- Congenital heart defects (birth defects)
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
What are the uses of a pulse oximeter?
The pulse oximeter has many other benefits that include evaluating the effectiveness of specific treatment. Here are some examples of the most common uses of a pulse oximeter that are to determine:
- how efficiently a new lung medication is working
- breathing difficulties
- oxygen level of a person who is on a ventilator
- oxygen levels during or after surgery, that need sedation
- the effectiveness of supplemental oxygen therapy
- person’s ability to tolerate increase physical activity
- the breathing patterns of a person during sleep apnea issues.
Does Pulse Oximeter Help in detecting COVID-19?
The new coronavirus enters the body through the respiratory system and causes problems to the lungs via inflammation and pneumonia. It negatively impacts how well the oxygen is transferred into the bloodstream. The oxygen impairment can occur at multiple stages of COVID-19. You must be wondering if an oximeter can help detect COVID-19 early. Not everyone who tests positive for COVID-19 experiences low oxygen levels. There are many people who might feel very uncomfortable with fever, muscle aches but never faces low oxygen level issues. Don’t think of a pulse oximeter as a screening test for COVID-19. However, having a normal oxygen level doesn’t mean that you are free of infection.
Benefits of Pulse Oximetry Includes:
- Access the need for supplemental oxygen
- Monitoring oxygen saturation
- Alerting to dangerously low oxygen levels in newborns
- Helpful for chronic respiratory or cardiovascular conditions patient
- Monitoring oxygen saturation levels in those who are under anesthesia
A pulse oximeter can easily be bought online. There are many companies that are now selling affordable pulse oximeter price rates to parents for monitoring their young infants. These devices alert about sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and sleeping accidents, though no research supports that they can prevent SIDS or accidents.