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How does a home oxygen saturation meter work?

  1. Oxygen saturation meters are devices that measure the level of hemoglobin bound oxygen with a kind of pinch that is placed on a finger. The clamp uses two light beams to read the ratio between hemoglobin with oxygen and the hemoglobin without oxygen, thus creating a percentage, or oxygen saturation. A percentage of 95% or higher is considered a healthy value. The heart rate is also measured with an oxygen saturation meter.

Operation of the oxygen saturation meter

  1. The oxygen saturation meter is placed on a thin part of the body, such as an earlobe or a fingertip, then it emits two different wavelengths of light that partially pass through the thin body part and are transmitted by a sensor. receive. One ray of light is red light at a wavelength of 660 nanometers and the other is infrared light at a length of, for example, 940 nanometers. Hemoglobin containing oxygen (HbO2) will absorb more infrared light and transmit more red light, the reverse is true for oxygen-poor hemoglobin (Hb). The heartbeat ensures that new blood with a lot of oxygen ends up in, for example, a fingertip, the meter is able to distinguish between a. The received light between heartbeats and b. the received light during a heartbeat, the absorption of other tissues such as muscle, fat and skin to correct the measured values. The two light rays are not emitted simultaneously, but often in a sequence of infrared, red and no light. This creates a lot of data per second that the meter can use to quickly calculate the final results.

Normal values ​​of oxygen saturation and heart rate

  1. Normal values ​​at or around sea level are 95% to 99% for a healthy person, but it is also sometimes stated that the values ​​must be higher than 95%. Values ​​are displayed in SpO2, this is an abbreviation for the English “peripheral oxygen saturation”, which means that the oxygen saturation is measured on the outside. The general abbreviation for measuring oxygen saturation is SO2 ("oxygen saturation"). Values ​​can decrease when one comes to higher elevations, for example high in the mountains. A normal resting heart rate for a person is 60 to 70 beats per minute.

Applications and benefits

  1. The oxygen saturation meter is widely used in professional use; during operations, in emergency aid during accidents, in intensive care, but also by pilots in aircraft with low pressure in the cabin or in situations where extra oxygen is administered while at the same time measuring the effect of the administration. In addition, the meter can be used very easily by people with COPD, heart complaints or by athletes. The big advantage of this meter is that the measurement can be taken anywhere and with quickly visible results. In addition, the meter is affordable for everyone and due to its small dimensions, it can be taken anywhere. The meter can reassure the user when seeing high values, it is also an advantage that it is easy to do the measurement at home and does not have to go to the doctor.

Limitations and Disadvantages

  1. The meter only measures the amount of oxygen bound to hemoglobin as a percentage of the total amount of hemoglobin, so it does not measure the absolute amount of oxygen, nor to what extent oxygen is used in the body (oxygen metabolism ), these types of measurements can only be done in a hospital and laboratory. For example, in the case of anemia (anemia), less hemoglobin is present in the blood, the meter can then indicate a good-looking value of, for example, 98%, but in fact less oxygen is transported to all tissues than if there were no anemia. Incidentally, there are also meters for professional use that can simultaneously measure the amount of hemoglobin, but the cheaper meters usually do not have this function.

Oxygen pressure and blood pressure are not measured

  1. With the oxygen saturation meter the oxygen pressure is (of course) not measured, this value is normally 80-100 mmHg (millimeters of mercury pressure *) in a healthy person and 75 mmHg in an older person. Also, blood pressure is not measured, it is normally 120/80 mmHg in an adult. A blood pressure monitor can also be bought for home use, they are usually slightly more expensive than oxygen saturation meters. However, oxygen pressure or oxygen pressure should be tested in a hospital by drawing blood.

Some brands

  1. A number of brands are Contec, Drive, Medisana, Beurer and Omron. Many meters are very similar, perhaps the different brands use the same electronics and / or chip. They are often advertised by stores with the term “including heart rate monitor!”, But a heart rate monitor is an essential part of measuring oxygen saturation, so it is not unusual to have this included.



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