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The development of electronics has positively affected the growth of medical devices, which has made healthcare services cheaper and more accessible. An oximeter is an example of such a device. It is a risk-free tool that allows for the measurement of the blood oxygen level of a person. This device quickly measures how sufficient oxygen is distributed to the edges of the human body. It measures the level of blood oxygen level at the fingers, earlobes, or toes. The device is placed at any of these points because it gives the best measure for oxygen within the blood.

1. Description of an Oximeter

An oximeter is a portable clamp-like digital device that clips on to the human extremities. In most cases, it is mostly used on the fingers as it is more comfortable and more convenient. This device has a digital display. Between the clamp-like structure is a light emitter at the roof of the clamp and receiver at the bottom. Also, the device has a few buttons that allow for operation.

2. Function

The oximeter allows a patient to know how well their heart distributes oxygen within the body. This device is critical in emergency hospitalization. It helps the healthcare personnel to manage the vital signs of a patient. Additionally, it is useful for in-home care for patients with chronic, life-threatening illnesses, which require continuous oxygen monitoring. Such diseases that require an oximeter include lung disease, heart disease, asthma, anemia, and more. Using this device allows the patient or the doctor to know how good a treatment is working. Also, it gives critical information about the present condition of a patient. Other uses include: • Assessment of ventilation while a patient is on a mechanical ventilator, • Assessment of oxygen level during surgery, • Monitoring of required supplementary oxygen, • Monitoring of sleep disturbances such as sleep apnea, • Evaluation of the general health of a person during a fitness examination, • Monitoring a patient’s heart rate through an embedded Pulsimeter.

3. How an Oximeter Works

Several companies around the world produce oximeters. Each manufacturer makes its device slightly different from its competitors. Nonetheless, the basic principle of operation is the same. The oximeter is clipped to a suitable part of the body. Once powered, the light emitter underneath the clamp-like device transmits two light waves through the skin and the blood within the blood vessels. A receiver receives the light that passes through the body at the other end of the device. The level of light absorbed as it passes through the body allows the tool to calculate the body’s oxygen level. This process is painless and straightforward. Nevertheless, the measurements the device gives are not exact values but estimates. Therefore, there is always a margin of error for each measurement. Also, it gives the patient’s heart rate, just like a pulsimeter.

4. Readings

An oxygen level that reads 95% on an oximeter is considered normal. A value that is less than 93% may indicate significant oxygen deficiency within the body. A shortage of oxygen is called hypoxemia. This condition may require emergency intervention to prevent brain damage due to a lack of oxygen.

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