The Purposes of a Pulse Oximeter

Oximeters are small devices which measure the percentage of oxygen found in our red blood cells. They check if our organism is supplied with enough oxygen, which should be 95 to 100 percent.

In the past these tools were only available at the doctor’s office, but nowadays there is a wide variety of oximeters for purchase. They are being used in hospitals, surgery rooms, emergency rooms as well as in people’s homes for monitoring certain diseases such as: sleep apnea, asthma, pneumonia, heart failures and anemia. They also help in measuringpeople’s tolerance to physical activity.

You can find plenty of information on oximeters and oximetry tests online. For instance, you can check this link

What is the exact purpose of oximeters?

Let’s find out together.

During and after surgery

It is of vital importance to have oximeters in the surgery room, as patients who are under anesthesia usually show signs of hypoxemia. This is the sudden drop of oxygen levels, which is usually caused by the medications used to put you to sleep during surgery or other procedures.

These medications tend to obstruct the flow of oxygen through the organism, which is immediately shown on the oximetry devices, so the doctors can react quickly.

The low oxygen saturation also continues post operationally in the recovery room, as it takes a while for the levels to come back to normal. In this case, the oximeters serve to monitor the patient’s level until it normalizes, after which he/she can leave the hospital.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a serious sleeping disorder which can be detected by using an oximeter. People who suffer from apnea wake up suffocating due to sudden drops of oxygen level.

People who believe they might have this disorder, but are not completely sure, can do an overnight oximetry test at home or at a doctor’s office. The device has to be connected to a recorder which records its stability and shows it in the form of a graph.

When doctors take a look at this graph, they might detect if the patients suffer from sleep apnea or not. If they do, the chart will show multiple drops of saturation over the night.



Anemia can also be monitored with an oximeter. It is a blood disorder which causes lack of red blood cells. Oxygen is found in hemoglobin, the primary component or the red cells.

Therefore, when the number of red cells drops, the level of oxygen is dropping as well, resulting in shortness of breath, weakness and poor blood flow. Read more about anemia and its relation to the oxygen in our organism.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

COPD is a disease which affects the lungs and causes difficulties in the process of breathing. People who suffer from COPD are usually short of breath; their total saturation is low and often need to use supplemental oxygen.

These people should track the level of saturation by using an oximeter on a daily basis. This can help them to keep record of the oxygen level in various periods of the day while doing different activities. COPD patients will see which activities cause the lowest saturation, so they might avoid them if possible, in the future.

Also, they can determine their optimal oxygen level, which they should strive to achieve every day.

Other uses

Oximeters can be used not just for detecting and monitoring diseases and disorders, but also in more common situations. For example, athletes use them to track their levels, but other people who are physically active use them to check their physical endurance.

They are also used to inspect the effects of new medications which aid the breathing process or the effects of using supplemental oxygen for the first time on a patient.

Wrap up

Oximeters are helpful and practical devices which aid people who suffer from diseases that impair the breathing process.

You can easily find and purchase them online, then consult with your doctor about the method of usage and start monitoring your oxygen saturation levels.

Oximeters will soon become part of your everyday routine, providing you with feedback on your respiratory health!

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