Using a Finger Pulse Oximeter in Performing Oxygen Saturation Monitor Testing

A finger pulse oximeter is a device that is used for measuring the amount of oxygen present in the bloodstream in a process known as oxygen saturation monitor testing. The device can also be used to measure the pulse rate of a patient and in many instances has replaced the old method of drawing a blood sample in order to check the amount of oxygen in the blood. Finger pulse oximeters have recently gained in popularity due to their non-invasive procedure of carrying out oxygen saturation monitor tests. They give results faster, are portable, cost-effective, and very easy to use.

Practical Applications of the Finger Pulse Oximeter in Oxygen Saturation Monitor Tests

An oxygen saturation monitor can be used in assessing the reaction and response of a patient to certain medication therapy he or she is undergoing. By monitoring the oxygen saturation level one is able to answer the following questions:

  • Is the medication right for the patient?
  • How is the medication affecting the patient?

If the oxygen saturation level and pulse rate are showing improvement since the start of medication therapy, then the medication is correct and the patient should continue. If little or no improvement is indicated, the patient should report these findings to their physician.

A finger pulse oximeter (aka oxygen saturation monitor) can also be used in stress testing and sleep studies. These handy devices can be of great help to those who are under PAP therapy or those who are suffering from sleep apnea. A person can use a finger pulse oximeter in the comfort of their own home to determine if their oxygen saturation level is adequate for normal respiratory functioning.

Other groups of patients suffering from chronic diseases such as asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or cardio-pulmonary health conditions can use the convenience of this home health monitoring kit as opposed to frequent trips to hospitals, clinics, or laboratory facilities for analysis of their oxygen levels.

With today’s rising costs of fuel for transportation and medical fees, those trips which have become quite expensive can certainly be lessened if not eliminated. For these patients especially, the finger pulse oximeter is such an important tool for bringing peace of mind in helping them know for certain their blood sufficiently oxygenated.

Athletes are another group of people who can make extensive use of an oxygen saturation monitor. It is highly recommended that athletes and higher altitude mountain climbers keep an eye on their oxygen SAT levels. They should perform an oxygen saturation monitor test regularly in order for them to stay well fit, alert and active in their field of endeavor. Once again, the ease of use and portability of a finger pulse oximeter makes this device a necessity for the well-equipped athlete.

How to Perform an Oxygen Saturation Monitor Test Using a Finger Pulse Oximeter

One of the best ways of performing oxygen saturation monitoring is through the use of a finger pulse Oximeter. However, some people hesitate to buy this device because they fear the complexity of using this medical marvel. Such fear however is totally baseless. Oxygen saturation monitors are very simple to use and the test readings are very easy to understand.

The only learning curve one might encounter would be in using the computer tracking program offered with many models, but even those programs are well explained and easy to learn with just a little practice. The health benefits a person can derive from using an O2 SAT monitor far outweigh any downside.

Here are the easy steps that anyone can follow in order to perform a successful oxygen saturation monitor test at home or anywhere else without the need of a health care professional.

First, if you are not performing the test on yourself, explain to that person whom you are measuring his or her oxygen saturation level what you are going to do and why it is necessary so as to get the person’s permission to go on with the process. After obtaining the necessary permission or if you are performing the test on yourself, then you should:

  1. Turn on the finger pulse oximeter.
  2. Wait for the oximeter to perform its automatic calibration and self-testing.
  3. Ensure the oxygen saturation monitor is charged and ready for use.
  4. Place the finger pulse oximeter probe on the fingertip. (Short well-trimmed nails work best as long nails can conceivably keep the probe’s infrared light from reaching and penetrating the skin.)
  5. Remain relaxed and still as movement could yield inaccurate readings.
  6. In only a few seconds your oximeter will measure your heart rate and analyze the oxygen concentration in your blood, displaying the results.
  7. Write down the results and keep a log that you can share with your health care provider on your next visit.

Keeping a detailed log will help your physician in determining the best treatment for your conditions. For example, you may want to note things such as medications taken just prior to your oxygen saturation monitor test, exercise or physical activity, head positioning, etc.

Normal oxygen saturation levels for people without COPD range from 95% – 99%. Patients who suffer from COPD or with some sort of hypoxic drive problem may present with readings between 88% – 94%. Knowing your number and what is normal for you is important information, not only for you but for your doctor as well.

An additional feature on most finger pulse oximeter devices is a warning alarm. When the device detects a problem such as low oxygen saturation levels in the bloodstream or if it is unable to detect a pulse, the oximeter will sound an alarm to indicate that immediate attention is needed. This feature can be particularly useful in models that allow for overnight monitoring of patients with sleep apnea.

Now that you know and understand the practical applications of a finger pulse oximeter and how you can successfully use it in performing an oxygen saturation monitor test, the next step is to take action and purchase one for yourself and start enjoying painless and simple oxygen saturation monitoring right in your home or anywhere else at any time.

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