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Interpreting Pulse Oximeter Readings

Pulse oximeter is a medical device you can use if you want to know the level of saturation of oxygen in your blood. The readings produce by this device are accompanied by the respiratory rate as well as by the percentage of oxygen a person is able to breathe in. If you have history of cardiac and respiratory disease, you would definitely need a pulse oximeter in your home in order for you to be able to monitor your body on a regular basis.

The blood circulating the human body is able to carry two forms of oxygen. The first one is for the hemoglobin’s use turning it into oxyhemoglobin. The second one is dissolved in the aqueous phase of the blood, also known as the plasma stage. There is this model of pulse oximeter known as finger pulse oximeter. This model is able to measure the saturation of hemoglobin together with the oxygen. In a normal situation, each gram of hemoglobin holds 1.34 milliliters of oxygen. The percentage is based on this normal reading.

In a normal condition, every 100 milliliters of blood should contain 20 milliliters of oxygen. This amount of oxygen is meant to be consumed by the hemoglobin. Only 0.3 milliliters of this amount should be dissolved in plasma. The dissolved oxygen is first available to the tissues before it can be hemoglobin bound. So if the tissues cannot metabolize the oxygen or if the lungs are having a difficult time picking up the oxygen, the oxygen that is bound towards the hemoglobin eventually becomes depleted. Using the finger pulse oximeter, the device can sense capillary blood pulse. From the pulses that it has gathered, the device is able to calculate the percentage of oxyhemoglobin from that of the total hemoglobin present in the body. The readings will be low in percentage if the lungs cannot function properly or if the flow of oxygen through the lungs is compromised.

If a person has a case of hypoxia, he or she is advised to get a pulse oximeter at home to be able to monitor the oxygen in his or her blood regularly. Mild hypoxia is when there is a 90% to 95% reading being given by the device. Moderate hypoxia is at 90% to 90% reading. If the reading is less than 80%, then it is already considered as severe hypoxia and an immediate meeting with the doctor should be arranged.

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