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A pulse oximeter is a small device which clips onto your finger that measures your blood oxygen level and pulse rate. Pulse oximeters are also useful for measuring oxygen saturation in your blood before and after exercise and operations. Although most commonly seen in medical clinics, pulse oximeters are a useful device to have at home for easy monitoring of your oxygen saturation level.

Sove CPAP Clinic has a range of pulse oximeters available, from reliable brands such as HeartSure. To find out more about our pulse oximeters, we have consultants able to assist you. We can be contacted by calling 1300 76 29 39 or emailing us on info@thecpapclinic.com.au.


How does a pulse oximeter work?

Pulse oximeters usually have a small clamp which gently clips onto a patient’s finger (or earlobe or toe in some cases). Small light beams are shone through the finger to measure how much oxygen is present in the blood. Oxygenated and deoxygenated blood absorb light differently, so the difference in the light can be used to measure how much of the blood is carrying oxygen. This is also how the finger pulse measurement is taken. It is a painless procedure.

Please note that pulse oximetry measures oxygen saturation and pulse rate – not blood pressure. Patients who need to regularly check their blood pressure will need a blood pressure monitor instead. Most blood pressure monitors also measure pulse rate.

What should your oxygen saturation levels be?

For a healthy adult without lung problems, a reading between 95-100% is a normal oxygen saturation range. This means that 95-100% of your blood cells are carrying oxygen. A level of 92% could indicate that oxygen is not reaching tissues in the body as well as it should. However, for those with an underlying lung diseases, lower readings may be common. If you are concerned by your results, contact your doctor.

How do I use a pulse oximeter to check my oxygen saturation?

Please consult the manufacturer’s instructions for your pulse oximeter for more specific directions and maintenance requirements.

General tips on using an oximeter:

  • Use your middle finger for the reading
  • Make sure your nail surface is free of any nail polish
  • Avoid using it on cold finger (make sure they are room temperature)
  • Sit during your reading, and avoid moving too much

Most oximeters also use batteries, and so users should take care to note the battery life and replace the batteries when they are running low. Asides from these battery changes, pulse oximeters generally need limited maintenance.

If you are concerned by any of your results, please contact your doctor.