Oxygen is very important for human life on earth. It helps us in the breathing process and carries vital supplements to far off the organs of the body. The heart and brain are most dependent on the supply of oxygen. If oxygen supply is limited or cuts off for more than a few moments it could be fatal. The shortage of oxygen is called hypoxia.
The oxygen flow in the body can be measured with medical equipments like pulse oximetry.
What is pulse oximetry?
Pulse oximetry is the method of measuring the oxygen saturation level and pulse rate. It is a non-invasive procedure that means that the body is not pierced or injected with anything making it a friendly method of measuring pulse rate and oxygen saturation. That means it provides continuous non-invasive monitoring of oxygen in the body with an update after every wave.
What is a pulse oximeter?
A pulse oximeter is a device used to measure oxygen saturation in the body. But it does not provide information about the hemoglobin concentration, cardiac output, efficiency of oxygen delivery to the tissues, oxygen consumption, the sufficiency of oxygenation, or adequacy of ventilation.
The pulse oximeter, however, provides fast and early information about deviation in the oxygen level to the doctor before the hypoxemia turns into cyanosis.
This device consists of a pulse oximeter sensor and a monitor. The pulse oximeter varies in size. They come in probes that can be used on a finger, toe, ear-lobe, feet, palm, and forehead.
Depending on their size and type of sensor probe there are different types of pulse oximeters. You can choose one depending on your need and prescription by the doctor.
Different types of oximeters include fingertip oximeter which is the most common type of oxymeters. They are mobile and are commonly used in hospitals, clinics, and houses.
The second one is the handheld oximeter it is used in hospitals and other medical facilities and it provides a more accurate reading. The third one is the tabletop oximeter, it is bigger in size than the handheld. They are used for more accurate and continuous reading.
The wrist-worn oximeter is worn like a wrist-watch and is suitable for patients that require continuous oxygen saturation monitoring on a daily basis. The last one is the fatal pulse oximeter, which is used on neonates. They are used on either finger or wrist or even on the forehead if required.
After you decide what oximeter you want to buy with the advice of the doctor, the next step is to buy the oximeter. Due to the high usage of pulse oximeters, medical equipment sales are skyrocketing.
The proper way to use a pulse oximeter directly affects the readings. In order to take accurate measurements, choose a finger that is comfortable for the patient. Place the probe on the finger making sure that there are no fake nails or nail polish on the finger.
The hand should be at heart level. Turn on the device and after the beep wait for the reading to appear on the screen. If you need the on-the-spot reading then remove the probe and clean it and if continuous monitoring is required leave it on.
The best to benefit from pulse oximetry, check your oxygen saturation reading several times a day, especially after rigorous physical activity. Keep a record of the reading in the activity log that you can share with your doctor for his opinion.
Never fully depend on the reading of the oximeter if you are not feeling well. Like any other device, a pulse oximeter can also give a faulty reading. In that case, consult with your doctor straight away.