What Are The Pros And Cons Of Pulse Oximeters
Pulse oximetry offers many advantages over traditional methods of measuring blood oxygen levels. Whereas traditional methods usually involve drawing a sample of arterial blooda potentially painful experience for patients that requires around 15 minutes, at minimum, to analyze blood samplespulse oximetry is noninvasive and provides near-immediate readings. Whats more, pulse oximeters can be used continuously and, therefore, can provide long-term monitoring of a persons blood oxygen levels.
At the same time, pulse oximetry is less precise than conventional methods, such as arterial blood gas testing. Also, it does not provide as much information on other blood gases as do tests that directly measure the blood.
How Accurate Are Pulse Oximeter Readings
Most pulse oximeters are accurate to within 2% to 4% of the actual blood oxygen saturation level. This means that a pulse oximeter reading may be anywhere from 2% to 4% higher or lower than the actual oxygen level in arterial blood.
A number of factors can impair the functioning or accuracy of a pulse oximeter. Nail polish and artificial nails may block the red and infrared light emitted by the device. Certain dyes used for diagnostic tests or medical procedures can also hinder light transmission. Excessive motionshivering, shaking, or other movementcan also cause erroneous readings.
Skin temparture and thickness can also reduce the accuracy of pulse pulse oximeters, and whether a person smokes tobacco can affect the devices accuracy. Pulse oximetry can be less accurate for people who have dark skin pigmentation. Recent evidence suggests that pulse oximetry more frequently fails to detect hypoxemialow blood oxygen levelsin Black patients as compared to white patients.
The Infection Thats Silently Killing Coronavirus Patients
This is what I learned during 10 days of treating Covid pneumonia at Bellevue Hospital.
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I have been practicing emergency medicine for 30 years. In 1994 I invented an imaging system for teaching intubation, the procedure of inserting breathing tubes. This led me to perform research into this procedure, and subsequently teach airway procedure courses to physicians worldwide for the last two decades.
So at the end of March, as a crush of Covid-19 patients began overwhelming hospitals in New York City, I volunteered to spend 10 days at Bellevue, helping at the hospital where I trained. Over those days, I realized that we are not detecting the deadly pneumonia the virus causes early enough and that we could be doing more to keep patients off ventilators and alive.
On the long drive to New York from my home in New Hampshire, I called my friend Nick Caputo, an emergency physician in the Bronx, who was already in the thick of it. I wanted to know what I was facing, how to stay safe and what his insights into airway management with this disease were. Rich, he said, its like nothing Ive ever seen before.
During my recent time at Bellevue, though, almost all the E.R. patients had Covid pneumonia. Within the first hour of my first shift I inserted breathing tubes into two patients.
Its time to get ahead of this virus instead of chasing it.
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Blood Oxygen Levels And Covid
If youve had COVID-19, your doctor may be treating you for low blood oxygen levels. COVID-19 can trigger a tsunami-like autoimmune proinflammatory response in some patients known as a cytokine storm. In response to certain triggers, including a COVID-19 infection the body can release proinflammatory proteins or cytokines, which are tasked to aid the immune system in fighting off foreign pathogens, but instead, attack the patients own healthy organs. These cytokines can damage the vessels within the patients lungs, compromising proper gas exchange and causing low blood oxygen saturation, among other serious events, explains Dr. Yadegar.
The key to decreasing hospitalization and long-hauler risk is being proactive. The earlier a patient is found to be developing a COVID-19 related adverse event, the better the prognosis, Dr. Yadegar says.
Thats why monitoring blood oxygen saturations during a COVID-19 infection is vital for preventing a patient from developing a full-blown cytokine storm, which is commonly seen seven to 14 days after the first symptoms develop, as cytokine storm is notorious for developing after a patients initial viral infection. Its also important to evaluate blood oxygen saturations with walking or activity, as this can detect any abnormality with the bodys oxygenation much faster, Dr. Yadegar says.
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Limitations And Future Studies
This study highlights the variation in national guidelines for when to commence supplemental oxygen in patients with COVID-19. In of itself, this raises important questions as to the optimal response to COVID-19. Attempting to delineate the interventions and strategies that are potentially beneficial between nations is difficult without using a mortality estimation, which carries inherent confounders. CFR depends on many factors, not least of which is the accurate reporting of COVID-19-related deaths. Whilst we found no correlation between CFR and rates of testing or crude case burden, we could not account for disparities in reporting of deaths, nor did we analyse for differences in the age of the population, nor the socioeconomic status of the infected population.
Utilising patient-specific data from cohorts from the nations analysed here would provide greater insight into whether target oxygen saturation guidelines are both being followed and having a direct impact on mortality. A further follow-up study utilising patient-specific data could help determine whether the relationship identified here is in fact causal. It would also be useful to undertake further analysis into the cost-effectiveness of increasing access to supplemental oxygen vs. expanding intensive care facilitiescould more lives be saved by treating more cases earlier and with optimum oxygen targets?
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What Is An Abnormal Pulse Oximeter Reading
The normal range of oxygen saturation is 94-98% at rest in patients without chronic lung disease.1 A pulse oximeter reading of 92% or lower is one defining feature of severe disease in acute covid-19 . Depending on the patients own normal range, a reading of 93-94% may indicate moderate disease .19 Trend is important: a reading that is borderline and falling is far more concerning than one that is borderline and stable or rising. The pulse oximeter reading is part of a wider assessment of the patient: if there are red flags , the patient should be fast-tracked to urgent care whatever the oximeter reading.19 A drop in saturation of 3% or more on exertion is considered abnormal and should prompt further assessment.
Patients with chronic lung disease often have a degree of hypoxia, in which case target saturation rates generally fall between 88% and 92%.1 These patients are often aware of what is normal for them. A drop of 3% or more below what is normal for the patient warrants further assessment and a drop of 4% or more may require hospital admission.
Nocturnal desaturation of up to 3% occurs commonly up to five brief episodes per night are considered normal because of variation in depth of breathing during sleep.28 More prolonged or frequent desaturations may indicate obstructive sleep apnoea, though more specialist monitoring when not acutely unwell would be required to diagnose this.
Pneumonia Symptoms Signs And Treatment
In 2017, over two million people died from pneumonia worldwide .
Respiratory illnesses, including pneumonia, remain a major concern to hospitals around the world, especially during the winter months when an influx of patients can put some hospitals into crisis mode.
Pneumonia ranges in severity from a mild illness to life-threatening. Anyone can contract pneumonia, but babies, young children and older people are particularly susceptible to the dangers of this illness .
Pneumonia is the leading infectious cause of death in children, with about 15% of deaths attributed to children under five .
There are multiple types of pneumonia: one of the most common and life threatening-types is pneumococcal pneumonia .
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What Happens During A Hypoxic Challenge Test
While youre sitting down, youll breathe a low oxygen mixture using a face mask. Your oxygen levels and heart rate will be monitored. At the end of the test, a small blood sample may be taken from your earlobe or your wrist.
If your oxygen levels go down during the test, your health care professional will add extra oxygen to see if your oxygen levels go back to normal.
How Can I Prepare For A Pulse Oximetry Test
Nail varnish or false nails can block the light and affect the reading. So youll be asked to remove it on one finger only. This will help get an accurate result.
Pulse oximetry results can be affected by medical conditions including anaemia and Raynauds syndrome. Talk to your health care professional if youre concerned about this.
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What Is A Pulse Oximeter
A pulse oximeter is a non-invasive device that measures oxygen levels in the blood. It works by using infrared rays to measure the amount of oxygen present in the capillaries, most commonly in the fingertips.
Pulse oximeters usually need a fingertip to be inserted into the device, and held there for 6-10 seconds. The values of SpO2 and pulse rate are displayed on the device.
Having dark nail-polish or cold extremities can show lower values of SpO2 than they actually are, so it is advised to remove any nail polish to avoid interference with the accuracy of the measurement.
What Your Blood Oxygen Level Shows
Your blood oxygen level is a measure of how much oxygen your red blood cells are carrying. Your body closely regulates your blood oxygen level. Maintaining the precise balance of oxygen-saturated blood is vital to your health.
Most children and adults dont need to monitor their blood oxygen level. In fact, many doctors wont check it unless youre showing signs of a problem, like shortness of breath or chest pain.
However, people with chronic health conditions many need to monitor their blood oxygen level. This includes asthma, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease .
In these cases, monitoring your blood oxygen level can help determine if treatments are working, or if they should be adjusted.
Keep reading to learn where your blood oxygen level should be, what symptoms you may experience if your level is off, and what happens next.
Your blood oxygen level can be measured with two different tests:
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Whats Pulse Oximetry Used For
People with a lung condition may have a blood oxygen level lower than normal, so pulse oximetry can help to diagnose if there is a problem.
The more the lungs are damaged, the more likely there is to be a problem with oxygen uptake. Pulse oximetry can also be used to measure to how badly a persons lungs are affected.
The test can be done as a one-off spot measurement.
It can also be used to measure your oxygen levels over a period of time, for example during exercise like walking or when you are asleep.
Cfr And Infection Fatality Rate
CFR is the percentage ratio of deaths to total cases. It is a crude figure privy to a number of potential confounders. For most nations, it is likely to be numerically incorrect . CFR, however, is likely to maintain a relationship to actual infection mortality rate and as such was used in this study. CFR was calculated and cross-referenced from three different sourcesThe WHO, John Hopkins University, and Worldometer. There was no significant difference between the calculated CFR across the three sources.
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Pneumonia Monitoring And Complications
Prompt and effective treatment of pneumonia is also essential in order to prevent complications from occurring. Possible complications include pleurisy, atelectasis, pleural effusion lung abscesses, bacteraemias, septicaemias and death. If the patient deteriorates and goes into respiratory failure, they may also require ventilation .
Nurses need to ensure that regular monitoring of the patient occurs, including:
- Monitoring hydration and elimination
- Observing vital signs including oxygen saturation
- Providing oxygen therapy as needed
- Ensuring the patient is positioned in a way that ensures adequate ventilation
- Promoting rest and conservation of energy
- Pressure area care
- Educating the patient on infection control and hand hygiene and
- Providing reassurance to the patient.
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Days eight to 12 are when we have a really good idea if someone is going to get better or get worse, said Dr. Charles A. Powell, director of the Mount Sinai-National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute. The major thing we worry about is a worsening at eight to 12 days an increasing shortness of breath, worsening cough.
Powell said a home oxygen monitor can signal if someone needs to come in. Otherwise, patients should talk to their doctors.
If its difficult for the person at home to feel comfortable, and its difficult for the family to feel things are manageable, that would lead a physician to suggest the patient come in for evaluation, said Powell. We dont want to wait too long for blood oxygen levels to get worse.
DAYS 13 TO 14
Patients who had mild illness should be well recovered. Patients who had worse symptoms but maintained normal oxygen levels should feel mostly recovered after two weeks. However, patients with severe symptoms and those who needed additional treatment because of low oxygen may still feel unwell and fatigued and take longer to recover.
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Remote Management Of Covid
How A Pulse Oximeter Works
A pulse oximeter measures how much light is absorbed by your blood. This tells us how much oxygen your blood contains.
The pulse oximeter shines 2 lights through your fingertip or earlobe: one red light and one infrared light.
Blood containing lots of oxygen absorbs more infrared light and lets more red light pass through it.
Blood without enough oxygen absorbs more red light and lets more infrared light pass through it.
If your blood cells do not have enough oxygen, they will appear bluer.
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How To Check Blood Oxygen Levels
To determine if the level of oxygen in your blood is too low, a physician can do a physical exam, use a pulse oximeter, or take a blood gas test, which is a blood sample to measure your arterial blood gas .
Pulse oximetry measures blood oxygen saturation levels. It is commonly performed in a medical setting such as a doctors office or hospital, but you can also measure it at home. This procedure is carried out using a pulse oximetera small device you can clip onto a fingertip or other body parts such as your earlobe or toe.
A pulse oximeter works by emitting infrared light into the capillaries of your finger or other body part to measure the amount of oxygen that binds to your red blood cells. The device measures the amount of light reflected off the gasses, determining your oxygen saturation measurement or SpO2 level. In addition, a pulse oximeter can also measure your heart rate.
Although most people will not need to measure oxygen saturation levels, your provider may have concerns about low oxygen levels and ask you to monitor them at home using a pulse oximeter. You can share the readings with your healthcare provider, who can use them to monitor serious lung conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease , lung disease, or complications from coronavirus. In addition, self-monitoring has become more common during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Why To Use :
When our lungs become affected somehow or exhausted by any reason, then it affects all of the body parts. As lungs regulate the oxygen level of our blood so oxygen level may be depleted in some cases.
Here pulse ox can help us to determine the oxygen level and to make the right decision.
This device tells us that you need not visit any hospital or doctor if the reading is normal.
When oxygen level and pulse rate becomes lower than the normal level, then either you have to consult a doctor or go to the hospital.
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This Level Is Only A Buffer That Enables A Patient To Reach Hospital On Time: Aiims Director
Oxygen saturation of 92 or 93 in COVID-19 patients should not be considered critical instead, this level is only a buffer that enables the patient to reach hospital on time, according to All India Institute of Medical Sciences director Randeep Guleria. In a statement released by the Health Ministry on Thursday, he advised that judicious use of oxygen was the need of the hour.
Misuse of oxygen cylinders is a serious matter of concern these days. A few people stock oxygen cylinders at home, fearing that they may need it later. This is not advisable. If your oxygen saturation level is 94% or above, it still means there is sufficient oxygen in the body. There is no need to panic. Misusing the same by a person with normal levels of oxygen can deprive someone whose saturation level is well below 90 or 80, he stated.
The Ministry statement said, Oxygen is crucial for the treatment of patients with severe COVID-19, since the disease affects lung functioning. Shortness of breath or difficulty of breathing is one of the most common symptoms in patients with severe COVID-19. It also hampers the supply of oxygen to various parts of the body. They hence need oxygen therapy, to be supplied through medical oxygen.
According to a World Health Organisation training manual on pulse oximetry, if the oxygen saturation is 94% or lower, the patient needs to be treated quickly. A saturation of less than 90% is a clinical emergency.