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Doctor insights on: Pulse Oximeter Sleep Apnea

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How can you use an pulse oximeter to detect sleep apnea?

How can you use an pulse oximeter to detect sleep apnea?

Non-definitive test: If you have sleep apnea severe enough to significantly lower you blood oxygen level, a pulse oximeter will record how low and how long your oxygen level decreases. It will not detect early cases, which can be screened with a simple questionnaire called "stop-bang" which has a scoring system to assess the risk of true sleep apnea. ...Read more

Dr. Patricia Mcgarry
446 Doctors shared insights

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (Definition)

Sleep apnea has two causes. It may be 'central' or 'obstructive'. Central apnea occurs as a disorder in the way the brain controls breathing. Obstructive sleep apnea is much more common and involves an anatomical blockage of the airway. Usually, the tongue blocks the airway, preventing the passage of air between the a sleep study is needed to diagnose particular ...Read more


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If pulse oximeter is ok why would ER do abg?

If pulse oximeter is ok why would ER do abg?

Acidosis/alkalosis: Abg provides important additional information about carbon dioxide levels and acid base disorders. Crucial information in successfully managing critically ill patients. Pulse ox only gives info on oxygenation, and even this is better assessed with abg. ...Read more

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Pulse was 87 on finger pulse oximeter. Sneezed and it jumped to 131 for over a minute. What causes this? Freaking out!!!!!

Pulse was 87 on finger pulse oximeter. Sneezed and it jumped to 131 for over a minute. What causes this? Freaking out!!!!!

Why are u checking?: Why are you checking a pulse ox? I see that your past history is anxiety depression related with other medications. Assuming you've had a good physical by a doc with normal heart exam, there is no reason to be checking yourself at home. What are you most worried about? Treatment should exclude perseverating on obscure home collected data as this, and include frequent counseling 4 coping skills ...Read more

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Does Raynauds cause false-high Pulse Oximeter readings?

Does Raynauds cause false-high Pulse Oximeter readings?

Raynaud's: Spasm in the digital arterioles will show flat plethysmographic signals for low blood flow but the oximetry reading may be normal. Oxymetry shows oxygenation. Plethysmography shows blood flow. Raynaud's also shows a characteristic anacrotic notch on PPG testing. Keep me updated once you get the arterial Doppler and plethysmography. ...Read more

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Why do I get higher pulse oximeter readings from my fingers than my toes?

Why do I get higher pulse oximeter readings from my fingers than my toes?

Methodology...: Try comparing the readings of both fingers. Then compare the readings of both toes. I'm thinking there is calibration issue that is optimal on the finger. ...Read more

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In the throws of a racing heartstrings (185–220 pulse oximeter) what should be done to stop it from beating so fast? Er visit or wait it out?

In the throws of a racing heartstrings (185–220 pulse oximeter) what should be done to stop it from beating so fast? Er visit or wait it out?

ER if prolonged: You can try some bagel maneuvers (bearing down, submerging your head in a bucket of cold water), but if the heart racing continues for more than 30 sec or is associated with shortness of breath, chest pain or passing out, go to er immediately (don't drive - have someone or ems take you). ...Read more

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I have a pulse/oximeter and its happend twice where it won't pick up my pulse what's that about? Also my hands are cold early am and at night?

I have a pulse/oximeter and its happend twice where it won't pick up my pulse what's that about? Also my hands are cold early am and at night?

Very common: It is a common problem. Measurement depends on measuring the intensity of reflected light shone on the capillary. If the fingers are cold (weak pulse) it is possible there is a difficulty picking the signal. Likewise poor circulation due to arterial disease, raynaud's phenomenon, nail polish are some of the other reasons why the machine won't pick up a signal. Try changing the position. ...Read more

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I bought a pulse oximeter and not sure what my pulse& Spo2 should be so I can better monitor any more possible Pe's? Save trips to ER. Ty Xeralto20mg

I bought a pulse oximeter and not sure what my pulse& Spo2 should be so I can better monitor any more possible Pe's? Save trips to ER. Ty Xeralto20mg

If u r on Xarelto: U shud be followed closely by ur doc. If U think u may be having another PE U shud not depend only on ur pulse ox reading, but shud be seen STAT. To answer ur question. Normal pulse is usually in the 60-80 range, with pulse ox reading over 95. There r other causes for < O2 sats & > pulse, which is y u shud be seen for med evaluation 4 Sx or other abnormalities. ...Read more

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Why would my oxygen levels fall from 99 to 87 when exercising. I'm using a pulse oximeter.?

Why would my oxygen levels fall from 99 to 87 when exercising. I'm using a pulse oximeter.?

Lung condition: The lowered reading can be an error, depending on the quality of your pulse oximter. If the reading is valid then it may reflect a problem with your lungs or circulation - conditions such as asthma, COPD, pneumonia, and heart failure are common causes, but there are many others. ...Read more

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Normal oxygen saturation level on pulse oximeter?

Normal oxygen saturation level on pulse oximeter?

Normal for what?: At sea level at rest in a healthy person, between 95-99%, depending on the instrument. ...Read more

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Can blood pressure affect pulse oximeter readings?

Can blood pressure affect pulse oximeter readings?

Not usually..: The only effect would be if the blood pressure is extremely low causing poor peripheral blood flow. In this instance, the pulse ox may be inaccurate. This could occur in shock situations. As long as the blood flow remains normal, the blood pressure will not affect pulse ox. ...Read more

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Is it normal for my oxygen levels to fall From 99 to 91 when walking/ exercising with pulse oximeter?

Is it normal for my oxygen levels to fall From 99 to 91 when walking/ exercising with pulse oximeter?

Not Normal: Usually a persons O2 sat should increase or stay same w mild-mod exercise. Do U have HX of smoking or asthma? Even so, UR fall in O2 sat is rather signif. Maybe sat meter not work prop when walking. Way to test: check UR pulse manually w wrist & watch w UR meter. If unsure a Cardiologist/Pulmon can place U on Treadmill & obtain O2 sat. UR finding suggest lung prob. I know not any other HX. See MD. ...Read more

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It feels hard to take a breath almost as if a weight on my chest but pulse oximeter said 98% what would cause this?

It feels hard to take a breath almost as if a weight on my chest but pulse oximeter said 98% what would cause this?

Mgt/workup: Your chest pain may be due to asthma. I would advise reviewing your allergic symptoms and triggers, which are associated with asthma.
A virtual appointment is available online:
healthtap. Com/DosanjhMD
Code: NCYHPZ ...Read more

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What is the machine called that all of the equiment hooks up to in the er, such as the pulse oximeter and the BP cuff?

What is the machine called that all of the equiment hooks up to in the er, such as the pulse oximeter and the BP cuff?

UberAndBabyMonitors: It's just called a"monitor."At least, that's what we call it in our ER (and every other ER I've worked in the last 40 years).To it is hooked-up a cardiac monitor (yes, monitor)for the heart rate & rhythm, a pulse oximeter to measure the oxygen in the blood, a rerspiratory monitor to measure respiratory rate (the pulse oximeter also does that) & a blood pressure monitor. Let's call it all an Uber Monitor ...Read more

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My pulse oximeter read 52-55% recently for a long time; warm hands and lying on side. How did I not lose consciousness?

My pulse oximeter read 52-55% recently for a long time; warm hands and lying on side. How did I not lose consciousness?

MGT: The reading may have been inaccurate. An inbox consultation is available to review your case further.
The did you have an echocardiogram and chest radiograph? ...Read more

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I am in need of a pulse oximeter. Where I can get one donated as I can not afford one?

I am in need of a pulse oximeter. Where I can get one donated as I can not afford one?

Pulse oximeter: Try freecycle in your area.
Advertise in paper
Ask Dr office to tell you if someone using one dies can you get dibs. Doctor humor here! But try it.
Thrift shop
American Lung Society.
Ask your kids/grandkids/friends to give you one for your birthday so you will be here for your next one. ...Read more

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If pulse oximeter is giving reading of 93% and goes back up to 97-99% quickly should I be alarmed? Or is it possible that the reading is false.

If pulse oximeter is giving reading of 93% and goes back up to 97-99% quickly should I be alarmed? Or is it possible that the reading is false.

Need more informatio: As to why you are checking pulse oximetry regularly. A low pulsox of 93-94% may mean brief episodes of apnea, but until those become apparent and hypoxic (O2 sat ...Read more

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If someone is having a heart attack. Would the pulse oximeter show an oxygen sat level below normal range?

If someone is having a heart attack. Would the pulse oximeter show an oxygen sat level below normal range?

Not necessarily: If the heart attack is huge, the heart will not pump effectively and blood will not circulate normally, causing a low oxygen saturation. More commonly, the heart attack will be smaller and the heart will continue to pump effectively enough to get blood to the lungs and then to the body, keeping the oxygen saturation normal. ...Read more

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I have asthma and a pulse oximeter. I use it to check when I get an asthma attack. What Spo2 is normal? So I know when to go to the ER. I am 25.

I have asthma and a pulse oximeter. I use it to check when I get an asthma attack. What Spo2 is normal? So I know when to go to the ER. I am 25.

When it gets worse: I agree with Dr Grieve that pulse oximetry is useless in monitoring asthma. The rule of thumb is symptoms. If you are waking up at night from asthma more than 2x/wk, using your rescue inhaler nearly daily, or the breathing is getting progressive worse, you need to see your doctor. Lung function monitoring helps but the readings do not always correlate with severity of your asthma. ...Read more

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My mum has a oxygen concentration less than 70 using a pulse oximeter. She has been on oxygen therapy (3.5)for a year. But now it is still dropping.?

My mum has a oxygen concentration less than 70 using a pulse oximeter. She has been on oxygen therapy (3.5)for a year. But now it is still dropping.?

Sounds grim: Oxygen saturation of less than 70% on 3.5 lpm o2 via nasal cannula for a chronic and apparently progressive disease is an indicator of very severe dysfunction. I would assume that she has very poor ability to exercise or even ambulate. Have you discussed end of life issues? ...Read more

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Is a pulse oximeter still accurate when you're lying down, arms flat by side? Doctor said less blood flow might affect it.!

Is a pulse oximeter still accurate when you're lying down, arms flat by side? Doctor said less blood flow might affect it.!

Yes: Hi Matthew, a pulse-oximeter is still accurate when lying down. A few things that can affect the reading are the temperature of the patient's hands as well as if there is any nail polish obscuring the sensing device. ...Read more

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Diagnosed small airway disease / asthma. On advair diskuz 250/50 and proair hfa. Would it be beneficial to get a finger pulse oximeter and a peak flow meter to track (especially during attacks)?

Diagnosed small airway disease / asthma. On advair diskuz 250/50 and proair hfa. Would it be beneficial to get a finger pulse oximeter and a peak flow meter to track (especially during attacks)?

A peak flow suffices: And it is better to monitor and record ur peak flow readings am and pm, there are variations, night timereadings are bit lower, that would help ur md better direct your treatment and as well would predict if any astham exacrbation would happen hours ahead of time, an asthma action plan planned with ur 1ry md or with ur allergist will help, no need for an oximeter, review all ur meds with ur md. ...Read more

Dr. Patrick Melder
1,062 Doctors shared insights

Apnea (Definition)

This is the cessation of breathing for 10 seconds or more. Most apnea is obstructive being caused by collapse or obstruction of the airway leading to lack of air flow. However, it can be a central process, where the respiratory center of the brain fails to signal the respiratory respiratory system to initiate a breath. Lastly, some apnea is mixed central ...Read more


Dr. Carlo Hatem
1,207 Doctors shared insights

Sleep Apnea (Definition)

A condition in which you stop breathing during sleep. There are 2 main types. Obstructive the most common. Central the less common. When people speak about sleep apnea they usually refer to obstructive where you cannot breathe due to ...Read more