What does a pulse oximeter do?
A pulse oximeter is a portable device which enables the spot check measurement of oxygen saturation of arterial Haemoglobin (SpO2) and pulse rate of adults and children
What do pulse oximeters measure?
Not to get overly technical, in basic terms it uses an established mathematical formula (Lambert Beer Law). Photoelectric Oxyhaemoglobin Inspection Technology is adopted, in accordance with Capacity Pulse Scanning and Recording Technology, so that a signal from two beams of different wavelengths of light can be obtained on a nail tip. Sounds complicated enough but we can assure you that it works!
Are pulse oximeters reliable?
In general terms yes they are. But obviously, they are only as reliable as to how they are operated and cared for. They are suitable for spot checks only and not continuous usage. The batterries should be changed roughly every 30 hours of continuous usage or when indicated on the led panel of the oximeter. Calibration is not required in this particular model.
Can a pulse oximeter detect Covid?
Unfortunately, a pulse oximeter cannot detect Covid. However, an indicator of breathing difficulties (one of the symptoms of Covid) can be measured using an oximeter. A normal saturation level will be around 95-100%. If the oxygen level is below this, it may indicate that there is a lung or medical problem that needs further referral.
When is a pulse oximeter used?
A pulse oximeter is used as a spot check measure of oxygen saturation levels in a situation where it is felt that oxygen levels may be below normal. Such instances may be particularly useful measure for those with repiratory issues, persons with heart failure or athletes who go to high altitude.