What is a Pulse Oximeter?
* A Pulse Oximeter is a device used to perform the diagnostic procedure for determining the: * Percentage of hemoglobin (Hb) that is saturated with oxygen The oxygen saturation (SpO2) is a measure of how much oxygen the blood is carrying as a percentage of the maximum it could carry and is sometimes referred to colloquially as the "sats“ reading * The heart rate The heart rate refers to the number of times that the heart contracts in a period of one minute * What is Pulse Oximeter
* Pulse oximeters are now a standard part of perioperative monitoring which give the operator a non-invasive indication of the patient's cardio-respiratory status. Having been successfully used in intensive care, the recovery room and during anaesthesia, they have been introduced in other areas of medicine such as general wards apparently without staff undergoing adequate training in their use(1). The technique of pulse oximetry does have pitfalls and limitations and it is possible that patient safety may be compromised with untrained staff. This article is therefore intended for the 'occasional' user of pulse oximetry. * Pulse oximeters. Measure the arterial oxygen saturation of haemoglobin. The technology involved is complicated but there are two basic physical principles. First, the absorption of light at two different wavelengths by hemoglobin differs depending on the degree of oxygenation of hemoglobin. Second, the light signal following transmission through the tissues has a pulsatile component, resulting from the changing volume of arterial blood with each pulse beat. This can be distinguished by the microprocessor from the...