With Pulse Oximetry, you don’t have to stick with a needle or give a blood sample to determine how much oxygen is in your blood. It is a simple, painless way to check how well oxygen is getting to your arms and legs, which are farthest from your heart. Oxygen saturation levels in arterial blood are measured using a handheld Pulse Oximeter.
The pulse oximeter can also provide information regarding the efficacy of breathing interventions such as oxygen therapy and ventilators. For patients with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions, physicians may use pulse oximetry to determine whether physical activity is safe or recommend using one during exercise. Some hospitals also employ pulse oximeters for especially vulnerable patients, such as those with COPD.
Pulse Oximetry and COPD
In the case of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), your medical practitioner can use pulse oximetry to evaluate whether you require supplemental oxygen and, if so, how much you require. If your condition suddenly worsens, your practitioner may use pulse oximetry to decide whether or not you should be hospitalized. Research using pulse oximeters on COPD patients showed the devices were highly effective at predicting when COPD symptoms worsened, known as exacerbations.
Pulse Oximetry Monitoring in COPD
The pulse oximetry test can be performed almost anywhere because it is a straightforward process similar to taking your blood pressure. It won’t take long and shouldn’t hurt too much.
- To get an accurate reading of your oxygen saturation, gently clamp onto your finger or another part of your body the pulse oximeter to precisely read your oxygen saturation.
- The device then determines the oxygen saturation of your hemoglobin through the light of a particular wavelength.
The levels of oxygen saturation that are considered normal range from 95 to 100 percent. Oxygen saturation levels may be lower in patients with COPD and other respiratory, lung, heart, and pneumonia conditions.
In diagnosing and treating chronic respiratory diseases like COPD, pulse oximetry should not replace spirometry but rather serve as a complementary tool.
What is the Usual Oxygen Level for COPD?
The oxygen level should be between 88% and 92% for a person with moderate to severe COPD to be considered safe. If the oxygen level in the blood drops below 88%, the patient should immediately make an appointment with a primary physician. If the oxygen levels drop to 84% or lower, go to the hospital immediately. Any 80% or lower level is considered dangerous for the vital organs and requires immediate treatment.
Considerations for a Pulse Oximeter
- Accuracy is the most important consideration when purchasing medical equipment. The same holds for pulse oximeters, as the readings indicate your current state of health. Inaccurate oximeter readings can become extremely dangerous in the future.
- To guarantee the oximeter’s level of accuracy, you must verify its certifications. A select group of organizations provide certification of the product’s quality and adherence to standards; this, in turn, guarantees that the device is accurate. FDA, RoHS, and CE are examples of certifications that can be trusted.
- Pulse oximeter price and features. There is a price range for pulse oximeters, but remember that you do not need to spend more money because its primary function is to read blood oxygen levels. If it provides accurate results, it will not significantly affect the cost of the device.
The Best Pulse Oximeter for COPD
As recommended by medical professionals, the following are some of the best pulse oximeters currently available.
In just 7 seconds, the Oxiline Pulse 7 Pro can determine your blood oxygen level, and the results are displayed in large, high-contrast numerals on the device’s LED display. You can use it with little effort. To use, flip open the small, oval-shaped device’s hinges and insert your finger.
The SantaMedical Generation 2 Fingertip is an affordable and simple device. Clip the gadget onto your finger and monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, and vascular responses to exercise. Numbers representing your blood oxygen saturation and pulse rate will be shown, while a waveform representing your blood circulation will be shown.
This device has no extra features, such as the ability to connect to a smartphone. However, it does offer the relevant details.
After inserting the batteries, the Wellue Fingertip Pulse Oximeter was ready to use within seconds. It can accommodate a wide range of finger sizes, and the OLED screen makes it simple to read.
Some of its convenient functions are built-in memory, automatic on/off operation, spot check, and constant measuring formats. It monitors oxygen saturation levels, heart rate, perfusion index, and pulse strength.
Innovo iP900AP pulse oximeter proved more accurate and reliable than other pulse oximeters during clinical tests. On an OLED display, it provides both a visual and a numerical readout. If you do not require the use of an alarm function, the Premium iP900AP might be a good option for you.
Attempting to measure the oxygen levels of writhing toddlers or children is difficult. With its anti-motion electronic signal processing technology, however, the Hopkins Handheld Pulse Ox oximeter simplifies the process for children, making it a top choice.
The device has three age-specific settings: infant, pediatric, and adult. To utilize the device, choose the age range and sensor type. Choose between a fingertip sensor and a strap that can be wrapped around small hands or feet. An alarm notifies you if there is a problem or the reading is complete.
The Nellcor forehead sensor is an excellent choice if you prefer an alternative to hand or arm access. The device can obtain forehead readings using an adhesive pad. To use the sensor, you must purchase an oximeter system from Covidien separately, making it a significant investment.
The Wellue O2Ring is suggested if you want a discreet and comfortable monitor. With its unique ring shape, this monitor is the lightest and most compact. This pulse oximeter is ideal for COPD patients because it can be worn continuously during the day or at night. Since it measures arterial blood oxygen saturation at the top of the finger instead of the tip, it can alert you to low oxygen levels or high heart rates with a vibration alarm.
Zacurate’s Pro Series Pulse Oximeter is recommended for those searching for a no-frills option with minimal setup and no extra features. In addition to monitoring blood oxygen saturation, the device measures pulse rate and pulse strength.
The device is hypoallergenic and latex-free, which is good news for sensitive skin users. Operating on included batteries with 40-hour battery life, the monitor alerts you when the power is running low.
The Accare Pulse Oximeter’s setup is effortless as it only requires the addition of batteries before it can be used. It is designed to be operated with a single button to make it as simple as possible. It is also convenient for people with impaired vision because the display features numbers in a bright red color that are easy to read and understand. Those individuals who want to monitor their heart rate and blood oxygen levels reliably will find this a reliable option that does not include any frills.
Expectations on Pulse Oximeter
Pulse oximetry devices are nontoxic and pose no significant dangers. Some individuals experience mild irritation, including redness and sensitivity of the skin. The primary risk associated with pulse oximetry is a false reading. The precision of pulse oximeters depends on their proper fit, and even minor adjustments to their positioning can result in inaccurate readings.
Altering your sleeping position or briefly holding your breath can cause a temporary drop in oxygen saturation, which can last for a few seconds to a few minutes. Even if the decrease in oxygen saturation is only quick and completely safe, a pulse oximeter will still sound an alarm.
Pulse oximetry is a great tool for determining lung function, the progression of a disease, and how well specific forms of treatment are functioning. It is a quick, noninvasive, and completely painless way to accurately measure the levels of oxygen saturation in your blood. There are no risks involved with it, with the possible exception of skin irritation caused by the adhesive that is used in certain types of probes.
Pulse oximetry is not a replacement for arterial blood gas testing or the advice of a trained medical professional, even though it is used frequently in both hospitals and homes. This test is only useful as a screening tool in situations where low blood oxygen levels are suspected.
On the other hand, you should never put your faith in a pulse oximeter to tell you how you should feel. If your oxygen saturation level is average, but you are gravely feeling short of breath and/or undergoing other severe symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately and inform your medical practitioner as soon as possible.