Have no fear, the pulse Oximeter buying guide is here. Firstly though, I will apologize beforehand for how I am about to start this blog post. Novel Corona Virus or COVID-19, has made us all more health conscience. Sure, it has confined us within four walls and has forced us to reduce human contact. But like any other barter, this pandemic has proven itself as a major give and take scenario. To put things into perspective, we have learned to take care of our health while we are deprived of the normal, we have taken for granted for so long.
Having said that, given the situation health devices that you can easily operate at home are nothing short of heavenly. You can keep a track of your vitals and avoid rushing to the hospital at the eleventh hour. Although marvelous these devices can be troublesome if not handled responsibly. Moreover, with a plethora of brands coming up with more advanced models, investing in the piece that best suits your needs can be daunting.
To save you the hassle, we searched the internet and came with the best that would cater to all your needs. In this blog post, we are going to examine everything that’s there to know about Oximeters. Firstly, what are oximeters, secondly what features you should look out for, the precautions you must take during the procedure, and thirdly what are some of the best oximeters available in the Indian market. Read on our oximeter buying guide to know more.
- What Is a Pulse Oximeter?
- Pulse Oximeter Guide – The Procedure, Readings, and Usage
- Pulse Oximeter Buying Guide – Warning & Precaution
- Factors to Consider When Buying Pulse Oximeter
- Best Pulse Oximeter Buying Guide – Conclusion
What Is a Pulse Oximeter?
For the uninitiated, Oximetry is defined as a simple, non-invasive, and painless test that is meant to measure oxygen saturation level in your blood. In other words, oximetry is simply a way to check how much oxygen is present in your blood at any given point of time. Why does it matter, you ask? Because a healthy level of oxygen in your blood denotes the number of things including the health of your heart. It can help to detect some of the most life-threatening cardio-respiratory diseases such as asthma, pneumonia, lung cancer, heart attack, anemia, and, COVID-19.
An oximeter is a device that uses this measure to give doctors important data. It is a clip shaped device that has various probes that you can put on the fingertip, toe, or ear lobe. On top of it usually has a display that shows the data. You can use oximeters in outpatient, inpatient, and household settings. However, most oximeters that are used for household settings come with fingertip probe with the display on the top.
Pulse Oximeter Guide – The Procedure, Readings, and Usage
So long as oxygen level is between 95-100% you’re good to go. But if it drops lower than 92%, it is definitely a matter of concern. You should treat it as a medical urgency.
A low oxygen level is called hypoxia. It hinders oxygen supply to your vital organs and in extreme conditions may interfere with brain and heart functions. Thus, making the situation pretty much life-threatening.
Pulse Oximeter is especially crucial to avoid such situations. Additionally, it can prove to be an essential measure in times of the pandemic of 2020 with pneumonia being the primary symptom of COVID-19. However, an Oximeter can definitely come handy in asymptomatic patients who may have gotten used a gradual decrease in blood oxygen levels. Hence, by keeping the score of oxygen levels you can keep away from a potentially dangerous situation. Furthermore, it will help you avoid being too late for treatment if you are a COVID-19 health care worker or have come across someone who has the infection.
In respiratory conditions, three things can be quite useful namely, heart rate, blood oxygen level, and body temperature. You can measure these at home. Top it all with a phone call to your doctors, and you can avoid risking infection or spreading it further.
Pulse Oximeter Buying Guide – Warning & Precaution
While medical science and technology have advanced and have given us the best equipment even for home usage, one must proceed with a lot of caution. It helps to avoid panic and thus managing a health situation more efficiently. Read on our Oximeter buying guide to understand the warnings.
1. Nail Varnish
One such thing to heed while using the Oximeter is removing Nail varnish or nail paint. Since pulse Oximeter uses lights of different wavelengths to determine oxygen levels in the blood, the paint may absorb some of the light. Consequently, there can be interference with the readings.
2. Bright Lights
Direct sunlight or sharp artificial lights such as operating light may interfere with the readings. Even though Oximeter probes usually have rubber lining to avoid it, it’s better to avoid such settings altogether if possible.
Slight movements, such as shivering or shaking cause an erratic reading. You should also heed to the tracing that looks like a wave on the device. It varies with your breathing and should be a continuous or sine wave. This is very useful when the reading is coming low. Because, if the wave is sluggish it means the reading’s not correct. To avoid the misreading the data, hold the hand steady until detection is done.
4. Poor Perfusion
We can define perfusion as the passage of blood or other fluids through blood vessels to tissue or organs. Now Oximeters, by the virtue of their usage, need a continuous flow of blood through the area of the body where you have planted the probe. Some models indicate the blood flow on the display and when there’s a change in blood flow due to peripheral vasoconstriction(a contraction of blood vessels) due to cold or hypovolemia (slow blood circulation). As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to rub the area and warm it up a little before planting the probe.
Most models these days come with adjustable spring. So, you can adjust the grip and get the correct reading.
5. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
When involved in a fire accident or have inhaled smoke, Hemoglobin (the protein present in blood that carries oxygen to your organs) combines with CO to make carboxyhemoglobin, making it essentially useless to carry any oxygen. Because once combined with CO the receptors in the same RBC would not combine with oxygen anymore. CO, unfortunately, is much faster at combining. Oximeters are not designed to distinguish between the saturation of CO and oxygen in hemoglobin. Thus, in such situation oximeters may show higher oxygen saturation (SpO2) than it is in reality.
Generally, there is 1% presence of CO in the human lungs due to environmental factors but in the case of smokers, it is much higher. Depending upon the brand of ciggs, number and the gap taken in between can anything in between from 3 to 20%.
When using Oximeter ensure you have not smoked for at least the last 24 hours or use correction for smoking exposure.
Factors to Consider When Buying Pulse Oximeter
The most important criterion that you must consider is the accuracy of readings. The primary function of an oximeter is to measure oxygen saturation(SpO2) in blood. So, you should choose a model that is most reliable in its functioning.
One of the many ways in which you can ascertain the reliability of the device is that you can first test it on a healthy person. You should also check for the tightness of the probe on the area. If you need an accurate reading, you should validate your pulse Oximeter by comparing it with others, such as those in your doctor’s office or medical clinics. Most oximeters can take a reading within a few seconds and have an accuracy of ±3%.
The display should be able to give an accurate reading with clarity. Most of us are not doctors and a faulty display renders a high chance of misinterpreting the data. More companies are using LCD or OLED displays on Oximeters like most other medical devices. We’d recommend getting OLED displays because they offer better picture quality. Preferably choose bigger sized displays of course because they give much better visibility of numbers.
Some Oximeters also come with adjustable inbuilt backlight. Earlier oximeters came with a default upside-down arrangement of data. Since the caretaker is the person who reads the data. However, now you can arrange the arrangement with the click of a button. It is always a good idea to go for models that offer this feature.
3. Response time
Since you’ll be using oximeter mostly in emergency situations, you ought to pick up a model that gives you accurate readings in the shortest span of time. Well, lucky for us with the latest technology Oximeters can give you accurate reading as fast as 10 seconds.
Best Pulse Oximeter Buying Guide – Conclusion
There are various criteria that you can base your choice of Oximeter on. However, for the ease of handling, we have narrowed the most critical ones for you. When picking up any model you must see your needs and requirements carefully and pick a model in accordance with that.
Another thing that you must keep in mind is that regardless of how amazingly the guides on the internet guide you, you must check with your doctor before investing in any of the medical devices for home-usage.
Now that you’re well-acquainted with the basics of an Oximeter, stay tuned for our list of the best ones that India has to offer. For time being you can leave comments, notes, and feedback on our comment section. We promise to get back to you with information specially curated for your needs. Take care and stay safe. We hope our Oximeter buying guide helped you well. 🙂
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