People with respiratory or cardiovascular conditions, extremely young infants, and people with some infections may choose to benefit from pulse oximetry. Every system and organ in the body requires oxygen to live. Without oxygen, cells start to breakdown and finally die. Cell death can lead to severe symptoms and eventually lead to organ failure.

The body transports oxygen to the organs by cleaning it through the lungs. The lungs then allocate oxygen into the blood via hemoglobin proteins in red blood cells. These proteins provide oxygen to the rest of the body.

Pulse oximetry is meant to measure the percentage of oxygen in hemoglobin proteins, known as oxygen saturation. Oxygen saturation generally indicates the amount of oxygen getting to the organs. Home pulse oximeter is basically a clip-on device that measures oxygen saturation. The device may be fixed to a finger, a wrist, a foot, or any other area where the device can read blood flow.

Oxygen saturation can drop for several reasons, including:

  • suffocation
  • choking
  • infections, such as pneumonia
  • drowning
  • diseases, such as emphysema, lung cancer, and lung infections
  • inhaling poisonous chemicals
  • heart failure or a history of heart attacks
  • allergic reactions
  • general anesthesia
  • sleep apnea

Pulse oximeters operate by throwing a light through a moderately transparent area of the skin. The light shines through to a detector placed on the other side of the skin. For example, when a pulse oximeter is clipped onto a finger, one edge of the clip shines the light, and the other finds it.

The amount of light absorbed by the blood shows the oxygen saturation. A pulse oximeter does not directly measure oxygen saturation but instead uses a complex equation and other data to estimate the exact level.

Several studies in the systematic review found that knowledge of a patient's oxygen saturation was associated with a change in clinical management, and in some cases, intensification of care (admission to a hospital, administration of oxygen). In other cases, pulse oximetry findings were reassuring and led providers to deintensify care. These findings are intuitive and not altogether surprising, but they demonstrate that physicians find the information generated by pulse oximetry useful in managing their patients.

Among many product options, Contec pulse oximeter is a reliable product that tends to deliver accurate results and lasts long. It comes with analysis software on CD. To connect, use the USB cable given in the package. With rechargeable batteries, you would never face a dead end with the device. The CMS50E boasts a full colour high-definition OLED display with adjustable brightness and display modes, allowing the readings to be rotated and viewed from 4 different directions. The screen makes it easy to read for self-use and for caretakers as well, giving detailed responses.