Do you know what an Oximeter does?
A pulse oximeter is a small device that is placed on a fingertip. It uses infrared light to estimate your heart rate and the oxygen content in your blood, without the need of drawing a blood sample.
Pulse oximeters display their results on screen as numbers. Oxygen saturation level, is usually abbreviated as SpO2, and is presented as a percentage. Pulse or heart rate is abbreviated as PR. For healthy individuals, oxygen saturation values are between 95% and 100%.
Individuals who are most at risk for oxygen issues include those with pre-existing lung disease, heart disease and obesity, especially in those that are active smokers.
Medical uses of oximetry include monitoring of oxygen levels in the assessment of new lung medication performance, anemia and in various respiratory conditions including COVID-19, Sleep Apnea, COPD, lung cancer, asthma, home oxygen therapy management, etc. In an emergency situation, oximetry is used to identify those individuals who require respiratory support.
How does a $70 device saves lives?
Use of oximeters has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. As the COVID-19 virus, enters the body through the respiratory system, it can directly cause inflammation and pneumonia in a patient's lungs. As both of these conditions decrease the efficiency of oxygen transfer into the bloodstream, a person with COVID-19 can have very low oxygen levels without displaying any other symptoms and otherwise feeling well.
Such patients are more significantly ill than they appear and warrant closer attention in a medical setting. It's why an oximeter can help detect COVID-19 early and is a helpful tool to identify low oxygen levels. This facilitates earlier medical intervention and helps save lives.