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About Pulse Oximeter Reading

One way of knowing the level of oxygen saturation in the patient’s blood is with the use of a pulse oximeter. Pulse oximeters have acceptable readings of ninety six to ninety nine percent saturation of oxygen. However, despite the ease of use offered by the device, there are a lot of factors that affect the accuracy of its reading.

Pulse oximeters work by emitting red and infrared light waves on one side of the probe’s clip. These waves are absorbed by a sensor attached to the other end of the clip. Direct sunlight or bright ambient light from the room’s lamp can greatly affect the function of the device. Skin cosmetics, such as nail polish, can also affect the accuracy of the readings.

The bodily movement of the patient can affect the accuracy of readings of pulse oximeters. Patients with hand mannerism and tremors, especially children, should have pulse oximeters attached on the earlobes instead of putting it on fingers to reduce the effects of movements that can influence the readings.

Sufficient blood circulation is also necessary for accurate readings. Thus, patients with extremities below the normal body temperature or low blood pressure might alter readings. The extremities should be warmed up or the reading should be done on the earlobe in order to increase chances of producing more accurate readings.

Constant trends tend to be more accurate in reflecting the condition of the patient than conducting periodical spot checks. Pulse oximeters are often attached to a patient, especially if he or she is in an intensive care or emergency situation for a continuous monitoring of the saturation of oxygen.

Readings by a pulse oximeter must be interpreted with the history of the patient being tested. Patients with chronic lung ailments have adapted to lower oxygen levels and a reading under ninety five percent might not be as serious as it would be for a healthy person.

An accurate and reliable pulse oximeter reading is very important since it reflects the saturation of the oxygen in the blood passing through each part of the body. The amount of oxygen carried by the blood is titrated depending on the readings of pulse oximeters.

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