Pulse oximetry is a noninvasive method that enables the measurement of a person’s blood oxygen saturation, which is often referred to as SpO2 or “The Fifth Vital Sign” (the first 4 being your pulse, temperature, blood pressure and respiratory rate).
Why do doctors use it?
Pulse oximetry is a method doctors use for rapid assessment and monitoring of a patient’s respiratory function. It is also used to determine which patients might be suffering from hypoxia and should take additional tests.
How should SPO2 readings be interpreted?
Your SpO2 is considered to be normal when it is above 95%. If it is around or under 92% your blood contains an abnormally low level of oxygen and we recommend you talk about it with your doctor.
When should I measure my SpO2?
You can use your Pulse Ox to measure your blood oxygen level at rest during or after physical activities.
Having trouble measuring your SpO2?
A poor blood flow can prevent the reading or provoke a mismeasurement. If your fingers are cold,
warm them up in order for the blood to flow back into your fingertips and try again.
Hypoxia and Hypoxemia Facts
Hypoxia is a condition or state in which the supply of oxygen is insufficient for normal life functions; hypoxemia is a condition or state where there is a low arterial oxygen supply – in some publications these terms are used interchangeably.
There are a variety of causes and potential causes of any type of hypoxia.
Symptoms of hypoxia and/or hypoxemia may be acute or chronic and vary in intensity from mild to severe.
Common acute symptoms are: shortness of breath, rapid breathing, and a fast heart rate.
Severe symptoms include: The inability to communicate, Confusion, Possible coma or death, Other associated symptoms also may be present.
Hypoxia or hypoxemia symptoms in children may be mouth breathing and drooling.
In general, hypoxia and/or hypoxemia is diagnosed by physical examination and by using oxygen monitors (pulse oximeters), determining, oxygen level in a blood gas sample and may include pulmonary function tests.
Treatment for hypoxia and/or hypoxemia is to give additional oxygen to the patient and into the environment or the body (blood) is quickly as possible. Techniques vary widely according to the patient's condition, but may include oxygen by face mask or nasal cannula, mechanical ventilation (intubation), hyperbaric chamber, or other devices or medicines to open airways.
Hypoxia and/or hypoxemia may be prevented in some individuals by avoiding circumstances that reduce oxygen concentration in the environments or by providing oxygen before symptoms develop. People with asthma can prevent hypoxia/hypoxemia symptoms by taking certain medications on a regular basis as prescribed by their doctor.
What is hypoxia and hypoxemia?
Hypoxia is a condition or state in which the supply of oxygen is insufficient for normal life functions.
Hypoxemia is a condition or state where there is a low arterial oxygen supply.
Hypoxia is sometimes used to describe both states (hypoxia and hypoxemia).
Within the body, hypoxemia can lead to hypoxia (tissue hypoxia) in various tissues and organs with the most severe being cerebral hypoxia that can rapidly result in brain damage or death.
Conversely, if a person experiences environmental hypoxia (low or absent oxygen in the environment from high altitudes or drowning for example), the person can develop hypoxemia.
What causes hypoxia and hypoxemia?
The causes of both environmental and tissue hypoxia often result in the intermediate state of hypoxemia; thus the causes of any type of hypoxia are also potential causes of hypoxemia. Some of the many causes of hypoxia are the following:
Chemical or gas poisoning (for example cyanide, carbon monoxide)
Low or absent concentration of oxygen (for example, high altitudes reached without supplemental oxygen as seen in mountain climbing, and aviation, drowning or fires)