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Doctor insights on: What Is A Normal Pulse Oximeter Reading

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Oximeter (Definition)

It is a device that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood stream. A sensor is placed over a finger and measurements are taken and recorded by the device. It does not ...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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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).

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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.