Pulse oximetry is particularly convenient for noninvasive continuous measurement of blood oxygen saturation. In contrast, blood gas levels must otherwise be determined in a laboratory on a drawn blood sample. Pulse oximetry is useful in any setting where a patient’s oxygenation is unstable, including intensive care, operating, recovery, emergency and hospital ward settings, pilots in unpressurized aircraft, for assessment of any patient’s oxygenation, and determining the effectiveness of or need for supplemental oxygen. Although a pulse oximeter is used to monitor oxygenation, it cannot determine the metabolism of oxygen, or the amount of oxygen being used by a patient. For this purpose, it is necessary to also measure carbon dioxide (CO2) levels. It is possible that it can also be used to detect abnormalities in ventilation. However, the use of a pulse oximeter to detect hypoventilation is impaired with the use of supplemental oxygen, as it is only when patients breathe room air that abnormalities in respiratory function can be detected reliably with its use. Therefore, the routine administration of supplemental oxygen may be unwarranted if the patient is able to maintain adequate oxygenation in room air, since it can result in hypoventilation going undetected.
Because of their simplicity of use and the ability to provide continuous and immediate oxygen saturation values, pulse oximeters are of critical importance in emergency medicine and are also very useful for patients with respiratory or cardiac problems, especially COPD, or for diagnosis of some sleep disorders such as apnea and hypopnea. For patients with obstructive sleep apnea, pulse oximetry readings will be in the 70% 90% range for much of the time spent attempting to sleep.
Portable battery-operated pulse oximeters are useful for pilots operating in non-pressurized aircraft above 10,000 feet (3,000 m) or 12 ,500 feet (3 ,800 m) in the U.S. where supplemental oxygen is required. Portable pulse oximeters are also useful for mountain climbers and athletes whose oxygen levels may decrease at high altitudes or with exercise. Some portable pulse oximeters employ sofware that charts a patient’s blood oxygen and pulse, serving as a reminder to check blood oxygen levels.
Connectivity advancements have made it possible for patients to have their blood oxygen saturation continuously monitored without a cabled connection to a hospital monitor, without sacrificing the flow of patient data back to bedside monitors and centralized patient survillance systems.
For patients with COVID- 19, pulse oximetry helps with early detection of silent hypoxia, in which the patients still look and feel comfortable, but their SpO2 is perilously low. This happens to patients either in the hospital or at home. Low SpO2 may indicate severe COVID- 19-related pneumonia, requiring a ventilator.
Post time: Mar-08-2022