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The pulse oximeter: a little friend that can save lives! The name perfectly describes the device’s essential functions: “pulse”, “oxi” (oxygen) and “meter” (measuring device). These helpers are used to quickly and precisely measure and monitor a person’s arterial blood oxygen saturation and heart rate. These values are two of the body's most important functions, and are often checked during anesthetic procedures, rescue or emergency operations and outpatient internal evaluation. Other names for pulse oximeters are SpO2 devices, pulse oximeters, oximeters or pulse oxys.
Oxygen deficiency can, if not detected early enough, become life-threatening. But the problem is that, without the proper measuring procedures, it can only be detected once there is a cyanosis. In the past, oxygen saturation could only be measured by analysing a blood sample’s blood gas. Since the 1980s, it can be determined simply and reliably with the help of a pulse oximeter.
Using a pulse oximeter is fairly easy. The device gets attached to well perfused areas like, depending on the model, the fingertips (fingertip pulse oximeters), earlobes or toes. If the patient is an infant or a child, you can also attach it to the heel. Pulse oximeters work with a photometric method. Their clips have a light source that emits infrared light waves which penetrate the skin. The sensor, which is on the other clip’s side, measures which light waves were not absorbed. The blood’s light absorption depends on the haemoglobin’s colour, which in turn depends on its oxygen saturation: saturated haemoglobin is light red, unsaturated is dark red to blue.
Healthy/normal oxygen saturation values are those between 97 % and 100 %. Children and teenagers should have a 100% one. A healthy adult normally has around 98%, while elderly should have values above 90%. If the measured values are below these, it can either mean that the measurement went wrong, or that the patient potentially has a disease. Pulse oximeters are nowadays vital in all medical fields, like rescue services, intensive care units, and much more. However, in case of doubt, you should always carry out a blood sample gas analysis. Pulse oximeter benefits
Oximeters are easy to use and deliver reliable results. That is why they are used so often in both medical and private settings. Some medical settings.
Patients that have illnesses such as heart failure, chronic lung disease or asthma can use pulse oximeters at home for self-checking their values. People that practice sports at high altitudes like mountaineering and skiing may also use it to quickly see any signs of altitude sickness. Sport aviation athletes can also use it to prevent hypoxia (oxygen deficiency).
Pulse oximeters can also screen newborns to help diagnose early stage critical congenital heart defects. They should be monitored 24 to 48 hours after being born. The clips simply get attached to the foot’s heel, so you can use conventional pulse oximeters without any problems. Anomalies should be, of course, looked into. Buy pulse oximeters at the DocCheck Shop
The DocCheck Shop has every possible kind of pulse oximeters: finger devices, handheld devices for long-term measurement, babies and children devices, ones for using at home, other for using in hospitals or doctor’s offices… We also have suitable accessories. And make sure to also look at our blood pressure monitors and mobile ECG devices!