Pulse Rate – Pulse rate or heart rate is the rhythmical wave of blood in the artery ( blood vessels that deliver oxygen-rich blood from the heart to the tissues of the body ) created by the contraction of the heart during a cardiac cycle. The amplitude or strength of the pulse reflects the amount of blood ejected with myocardial contraction (the ability of the heart muscle to contract).
Pulse oximeter – This is a small, handy, light weighed device used to monitor the oxygen carried in the body and also displays the current pulse rate. This non-invasive tool chiefly contains batteries, display, a probe that consists of a light-emitting diode ( LED ), and a light detector, known as a photodetector. The probe sense’s the user’s pulse. The readings are usually taken in 10-12 seconds. Safe pulse rate is 60-100 per minute and safe oxygen saturation ( SpO2) is 94 % to 100%, anything below 90% considered to be low blood oxygen (Hypoxemia).
Where to attach or to clip the device – Ideally fingertip, though some oximeters have been known to be clipped on to one’s big toe or the ear lobe depending on the model. The device can be clipped with any of the fingertips, but it is recommended to clip the device at the fingertip of the middle finger. The Index finger carries blood through the ‘radial artery’ and the ring finger carries blood through the ‘ulnar artery’, whereas in the middle finger blood from both the arteries gets mixed, flowed, and circulated. So, it is always advisable to attach the oximeter in the middle fingertip.
How does it work – The principle of pulse oximetry is based on differential absorption characteristics of oxygenated ( red ) and deoxygenated ( dark ) haemoglobin. There is a pair of small light-emitting diode (LEDs) in the pulse oximeter probe. One LED is red with a wavelength of 660 nm and the other LED is infrared with a wavelength of 940 nm. The oxygenated haemoglobin absorbs more infrared light allowing more red light to pass through whereas deoxygenated haemoglobin absorbs more red light allowing more infrared light to pass through. A photodetector on the other side measures the intensity of transmitted light at each wavelength from which the oxygen saturation is derived. This is based on the data stored in the memory of oximeter.
Precautions for the users –
- Handle gently
- The probe should not be pulled
- Regular cleaning with a soft cloth is required
- When not in use keep it wrapped and well protected from light, dust and mechanical damage
- Clipping of the device should be avoided with a finger with nail polish
- Should not be operated with low battery
Conclusion – The chief purpose of using oximeter is to measure the blood oxygen level in a patient with pre-existing respiratory conditions, cardiac problems, breathlessness, but nowadays it is widely used at home to check the oxygen depletion level in the body especially for asymptomatic Covid-19 individuals. It is always a better option to keep one oximeter at home like we maintain cotton, dettol, paracetamol, thermometer, etc. If a person is suspected for Covid-19 or has a mild case of COVID-19 and is self-treating at home, an oximeter can be a helpful tool for checking oxygen levels so that low oxygen levels can be caught early. In general, the people who are theoretically more at risk for oxygen issues are those with pre-existing lung disease, heart disease, and/or obesity, as well as active smokers. Are you planning to get one oximeter for your sweet home? Check On Amazon