Pulse oximetry is a test used to measure the oxygen level (oxygen saturation) of the blood. It is an easy, painless measure of how well oxygen is being sent to parts of your body furthest from your heart, such as the arms and legs.
A clip-like device called a probe is placed on a body part, such as a finger or ear lobe. The probe uses light to measure how much oxygen is in the blood. This information helps the healthcare provider decide if a person needs extra oxygen.
Pulse oximeter may be used to see if there is enough oxygen in the blood. This information is needed in many kinds of situations. It may be used:
- During or after surgery or procedures that use sedation,
- To see how well lung medicines are working,
- To check a person’s ability to handle increased activity levels
- To see if a ventilator is needed to help with breathing, or to see how well it’s working,
- To check a person has moments when breathing stops during sleep (sleep apnoea).
Pulse oximetry is also used to check the health of a person with any condition that affects blood oxygen levels, such as: heart attack, heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), anaemia, lung cancer, asthma and pneumonia.
The risks of pulse oximetry may include:
- Incorrect reading if the probe falls off the earlobe, toe, or finger
- Skin irritation from adhesive on the probe (where the probe is taped to the skin surface).
If a finger probe is to be used, one may have to remove fingernail polish.
The process of pulse oximetry:
- A clip-like device called a probe will be placed on one’s finger or earlobe. Or, a probe with sticky adhesive may be placed on one’s forehead or finger.
- The probe may be left on for ongoing monitoring.
- Or it may be used to take a single reading. The probe will be removed after the test.
GET ALARMED IF A COVID-19 PATIENT’S OXYGEN SATURATION IS 95% OR LESS.
Source: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org. last searched on 09.08.2020