Medically reviewed by: Dr. Robert Segal, M.D.
The Pulse Oximeter is an essential medical device which goes on the finger used by healthcare providers to monitor a specific vital sign called oxygen saturation. It is measured as a percentage value in which oxygen binds to hemoglobin in the blood.
The Pulse Oximeter works by the principles of spectrophotometry; Two light-emitting diodes, red and infrared, are positioned opposite their respective detectors through 5-10 mm of tissue. The deoxygenated blood absorbs the red light, and oxygenated blood absorbs the infrared light. Measurements of light absorption occur multiple times every second, and these are processed by the machine to give a new reading every 0.5-1 second that averages out the readings over the last three seconds. It usually is one of the first vital signs taken, along with temperature and blood pressure, when examined a medical facility.
A normal oxygen saturation, or 02 Sat, is around 95%. Any value lower than 90% is cause for concern and should seek immediate medical attention for anyone who tests positive for the novel Coronavirus, SARS-CoV2, COVID-19.
One of the known complications of the novel Coronavirus, SARS-CoV2, COVID-19, is Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). ARDS is an inflammatory response of the lungs that prevents oxygen from diffusing across the alveoli sac into the bloodstream. Which can cause an O2 Sat to fall below the standard value of 95%.
The complication of ARDS can lead to intubation and mechanical ventilation in an emergency setting if not monitored. A pulse oximeter can be purchased online that can help monitor O2 saturation should you, or loved one, becomes ill with novel Coronavirus, SARS-CoV2, COVID-19.
Written by: Andy / Approved by: Dr. Robert Segal, M.D.