Before now, a pulse oximeter would most likely be a medical item you either were not aware of or hadn’t come across unless you work in healthcare. However, owning one during this pandemic can be a lifesaver particularly for patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Attributable to this is the important role it plays in helping one detect alarmingly-low levels of blood oxygen which can be hazardous to the health.

Let’s discuss pulse oximetry, what a pulse oximeter is, and why having one is important.

What does pulse oximetry mean?

Pulse oximetry is defined as a noninvasive and painless test that measures your oxygen saturation level, or the oxygen levels in your blood. It is a simple test that is carried out using a pulse oximeter to quickly detect changes in how oxygen is being carried in the blood efficiently.  

Typically, pulse oximetry is performed to help ascertain how well your heart is pumping oxygen through your body. This could be used to monitor the health condition of any individual suffering from an illness that could affect blood oxygen levels. 

What is a pulse oximeter?

A pulse oximeter as earlier described is a portable device used to perform pulse oximetry. It is a small device that is often attached to a finger or toe to detect pulse rates and the percentage of red blood cells carrying oxygen in the body. It can be used for both in- and out-patients.

Why is owning a pulse oximeter important?

Unlike many other respiratory related conditions, studies have shown that patients with coronavirus could have incredibly low oxygen saturations and severe pneumonia, but still be up and talking. This could be catastrophic as the symptomatic effects of the virus such as shortness of breath, are usually not felt clearly until patients are long gone with it and already in a severe condition.

Although a pulse oximeter in itself cannot be used to diagnose COVID-19, it provides a method for rapid assessment especially for short term respiratory compromise and can be very useful in evaluating the severity of the illness in conjunction with other criteria, determining whether to refer patients for further assessment and/or treatment.

As with every other life-threatening condition, early detection and treatment makes the difference. A pulse oximeter provides a way to help spot potential health problems quickly even for patients with COVID-19.

In addition to the aforementioned, below are some of the other possible ways pulse oximeters could come in handy during the COVID-19 pandemic:

  1. It may be useful to aid the monitoring of patients who have been discharged from the hospital after previously being diagnosed with Covid-19.
  2. It is valuable in triaging potentially hypoxic patients at home.
  3. It can be a useful aid to clinical decision making.

For information on where you can order for a pulse oximeter or any other medical equipment of interest, kindly download our catalog.