How Do I Interpret Oximeter Readings

An Oximeter is a device that measures the hemoglobin in a patient through a non invase method.

Finger Pulse Oximeter FP300C

The device is placed on the patient’s finger. The device then shines two rays through the finger. One ray is visible and one is not. Through these rays the Oximeter then calculates what color the arterial blood is and then works out the oxygen saturation. The oximeter basically looks for the slight change in the overall color caused by a beat of the heart pushing arterial blood into the finger to work out the color of the arterial blood a pulse.


But while using an Oximeter it is important to know how to interpret the readings it generates. The pulse oximetry normal values are dependent on the patient`s health condition, respiratory rate, percentage of oxygen in the air, activities of the patients and other factors.


Handheld Pulse Oximeter UT100

For a regular healthy human body, the normal blood oxygen saturation level (SpO2) should be around 94% to 99%. Patients who have mild respiratory diseases, the SpO2 should be 90% or above. Supplementary oxygen should be used if SpO2 level falls below 90%, which is unacceptable for a prolonged period of time. Many doctors want their patients to have their SpO2 above 90%.


The understanding of  Pulse Oximeter readings is mainly a comparison of test results to the normal expected range. Studying the result requires an understanding of how these machines work and what each number signifies.


Pediatric Finger Pulse Oximeter FP300P


It’s important to note that the “normal range” that is used for comparison may be inadequate to assess an individual’s health. Interpreting the results should account for inaccuracies in testing that may occur for a range of reasons. For example, oximeterreadings of oxygen saturation could vary in people with lung disease or cardiac defects. Some children have sats in the low 80s, due to unrepaired heart anomalies.  Also athletes might have a pulse below 60 BPM, doesn`t indicate any problems.

In most cases, regular pulse oximetry monitoring is advised to people. A physician defines the safe and acceptable range of oximeter readings. Interpretation is then based on the doctor’s guidelines. Single oximeter readings aren’t always reliable. It’s important not to panic if an individual has an abnormal result.



Wrist Pulse Oximeters


Since the information, oximeter provides is of great importance to the patients health and diagnosis, it is important that the reading are interpreted correctly, factoring in all the limitation and problems that might occur during the process. Also it is important that the tests is performed by someone who is qualified or understands and interprets the readings correctly.

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