Pulse Oximetry

What exactly is pulse oximetry?

Pulse oximetry is a test that measures oxygen levels in the blood using a small, clip-like device called a pulse oximeter. When you breathe, your lungs absorb oxygen and transport it to your bloodstream. This oxygen-rich blood is delivered to your heart, which then circulates it throughout your body. If your blood oxygen level (oxygen saturation) is too low, your body may struggle to function correctly. It might be damaging to your essential organs. Pulse oximetry is a rapid and painless way to determine whether your oxygen level is too low. Treatment of low blood oxygen levels as soon as possible may help you prevent serious complications.

What is the use of pulse oximetry?

Pulse oximetry is used to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood. The test may be performed at a clinic, a hospital, or even in your own home. If you have a significant and/or persistent lung condition, an at-home pulse oximeter may be beneficial.

Used to detect
  • Have a condition that impairs your lung function. These include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lung cancer, heart failure, and COVID-19.
  • During intake of medicine. The test may determine how effectively the medication is working.
  • In surgery. Before, during, and after your procedure, your blood oxygen level may be tested.
  • Have sleep apnea. To detect the symptoms to sleep apnea.

What occurs during a pulse oximetry examination?

  • A pulse oximeter is a small electronic device that is clipped to a portion of your body, commonly a fingertip.
  • The oximeter employs a specific type of light that penetrates your skin and enters your bloodstream.
  • The quantity of light is measured using an oximeter sensor. This measurement is used to determine the amount of oxygen in your blood.
  • The oximeter will display your heart rate and oxygen level after a few seconds.
  • If you have a disease that impairs your lung function, your doctor may advise you to use an at-home finger pulse oximeter or another oximeter to monitor your condition.