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How To Use A Pulse Oximeter

Pulse oximetry is a medical procedure used in measuring a person's oxygen saturation level. In order to measure this, a pulse oximeter will be used. Pulse oximeters measure the blood oxygen saturation when the device is attached to the fingertip, toe or earlobe of the patient who need monitoring. Aside from the blood saturation level, the person's heart rate will also be monitored. Pulse oximeters are perfect for people who have hypertension, respiratory problems and cardiac problems.

There are two kinds of this device, the one which is used in clinical setting while the newer generation which is used at home. In order to use the device at home, here are some guidelines that need to be followed.

Sit comfortably and select a finger for the test. The index finger is the commonly used finger. Remove nail polish or artificial fingernails, point your finger straight out and clip on the pulse oximeter to your finger. The laser window should be in direct contact with your fingernail for the machine to read the results accurately.

While you are doing this, make sure that your finger sits on it comfortably and you feel no pain at all. When you do, choose a different finger to put it on. The results will appear in a while but once you notice that there is a slow signal, then choose another finger. Look at the monitor and see the readings. 90 to 100 percent levels are normal.

There are some factors that may affect the inaccuracy of the readings like advanced age, irregular heartbeat, cold hands or incorrect placement of pulse oximeters, so make sure to place them correctly to avoid inaccurate readings. Color of the skin has no effect on the readings as well.

After using, clean the pulse oximeter with alcohol or disinfectant and clean the unit if used for a long time. If you are not sure of the results that you got, short of breath or has low results, call your doctor right away. Remember, too, that before using a medical device, seek the help of professionals before trying it to yourself.

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