What's an Oximeter
A home pulse oximeter is a device that is placed on a fingertip and uses light beams to estimate heart rate and the oxygen content in your blood, without needing to draw 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, as well as being active smokers.
Medical uses of Oximetry include detection and monitoring of oxygen levels in the assessment of new lung medication performance, Anaemia and in various respiratory conditions including COVID-19, Sleep Apnea, COPD, Infant Bronchiolitis, Lung cancer, Asthma, home oxygen therapy management, etc. Oximetry is also used to identify those individuals who require respiratory support.
How a $70 device can save lives
Use of oximeters has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 virus, enters the body through the respiratory system, directly causing inflammation and pneumonia in the patient's lungs. As both these conditions decrease the efficiency of oxygen transfer into the bloodstream, a person with COVID-19 can have very low oxygen levels without other symptoms and otherwise appear well.
Such patients are more significantly ill than they feel and certainly warrant closer attention in a medical setting. It's why an oximeter can help detect COVID-19 early and is a helpful tool for checking oxygen levels so that low oxygen levels can be identified early and medical intervention started earlier to help save lives.