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Pine Bluff, AR
A 21-year-old female asked:

today in my nursing lab class i was checking my oxygen level and my level was 58 the first time and we checked it again it was 84. i don't have asthma?

3 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Tanya Russo
Pediatrics 25 years experience
Pulse ox: Unusually low pulse oximetry levels are usually due to equipment malfunction. These errors can be due to taking measurements with cold fingers, finger nail polish over the nail and sensor, or machine error. True oxygen levels in the ranges you have measured would be accompanied by significant impairment in function and awareness.
Dr. Andrea Rodgers
Emergency Medicine 28 years experience
Nail polish?: I will assume you were checking it with a pulse ox. Did you have nail polish on? Nail polish can interfere with the transmission of light through the finger causing the pulse ox reading to be low. If you are not having trouble breathing, there is probably no reason to worry. Here is some more info on the pulse ox; https://www.inkling.com/read/essentials-of-anaesthetic-equipment-al-shaikh-stacey-4th/chapter-10/pulse-oximetry
Dr. John Chiu
Allergy and Immunology 57 years experience
Try another unit: In a healthy person, even a value of 84 is abnormal. Aside from nail polish or artificial nail, you need to make sure that the oximeter is working properly and the battery is still adequate. I would suggest that you re-test yourself with another device. If the value remains low, then you should consult your doctor to get examined.

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Last updated Jun 30, 2016
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