Pulse oximetry is a non-invasive method of monitoring the level of oxygen in the blood. Using a small finger-tip detector, light is transmitted through the skin. A detector calculates the light that is absorbed by the skin and underlying tissues to determine the level of oxygen in the blood.
Without enough oxygen, your skin will lose it’s healthy pink color and turn increasingly pale, eventually becoming blue. However, cell damage begins long before visible changes are apparent. Even the most attentive physician cannot determine falling oxygen levels by observation alone until the levels reach dangerous lows.
The primary purpose of the blood is to carry oxygen from the lungs to the entire body. Our organs and tissues need oxygen to survive. Without oxygen, the cells that make up our vital organs die. Blood cells carry oxygen on Hemoglobin molecules (Hb). Each hemoglobin can carry four oxygen molecules. When all four oxygen-binding sites are filled, the hemoglobin is considered 100% saturated.
Measuring the oxygen levels in your blood with pulse oxymeter is a very important indicator of your physical condition. Blood gas analysis (ABG), in which to gas concentrations of oxygen, nitrogen and carbon monoxide are determined in the lab, is commonly used to monitor oxygenation. ABGs are highly accurate and reliable, but require a blood draw and considerable time to obtain results. Constant monitoring is not possible, because the results only tell the oxygen saturation at one point in time. One benefit of a pulse oximeter is that continuous monitoring is possible.
The oxygen received by our body’s cells varies according to many factors. Blood pressure, heart function and diseases of the circulatory system can all decrease the amount of blood and therefore oxygen that can reach the cells. For people with these and other medical conditions, non-invasive monitoring of the blood oxygen level helps prevent dangerous dips in amount of oxygen in the blood.
|Finger Pulse Oximeter|
|Respironics (Healthdyne©): HDN950.jpg|
|Unique, lightweight (2 oz) oximeter provides reliable SpO2 and pulse rate measurement. Can be worn around the neck; great for spot check readings. 2 AAA batteries included. 1-year warranty.|
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