Why use a Pulse Oximeter – How Does an Oximeter Work

A pulse oximeter is a useful devise for measuring a person’s pulse rate and oxygen saturation and is also useful for people with very low blood saturation.

There are many portable pulse oximeters available in the market for home use. Aside from being one of the devices used in cases of emergency and first aid requirements, a pulse oximeter is also used by:

Finger Pulse Oximeter

Finger Pulse Oximeter

  • Pilots. It might sound unusual, but most pilots carry a portable pulse oximeter with them especially when flying non-pressurized aircrafts. They use this device to check if there is a need for supplemental oxygen or if the supplemental oxygen present is effective.
  • Mountain Climbers. Mountain climbers in their ascend to high altitudes must check their blood oxygen levels since a change in environment and decrease in oxygen might have drastic effects on their oxygen levels.
  • Asthma and Lung disease patients. Pulse oximeters are used to measure a person’s oxygen levels in the blood, which is why Asthma and Lung disease patients are sometimes required to carry around a portable pulse oximeter since insufficient oxygen in the blood can be fatal especially to patients with breathing problems.
  • Surgical hospital patients. The pulse oximeters are usually found in a hospital’s operating rooms and emergency areas. This device is needed to monitor the oximeter pulse rates and oxygenation in the blood while the patient is under anesthesia or is sedated.

Professional Pulse Oximeter

These are just some of the few reasons why we use a pulse oximeter. You can even just purchase one for use at home in case someone might need it in the future.

How does a pulse oximeter work?

To understand how does a pulse oximeter works, you just have to remember and understand two things: Red Light and Infrared Light. These lights will be used to detect the amount of oxygen in a person’s blood stream. The light will pass through the hemoglobin in your blood; the hemoglobin, which carries the oxygen, absorbs the infrared light and the red light is absorbed by the hemoglobin without much oxygen. The device gets the ratio, and you have your results.

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