Spotting the SpO2 Signs:
The Role of the Pulse Oximeter

The pandemic prompted households to purchase items that were not generally on their shopping list prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

For ensured protection, people bought specialized home disinfectants, gallons of rubbing alcohol and sanitizers, surgical face masks, and even do-it-yourself virus testing kits. These goods were in high demand, especially when pharmacies and stores ran out of stock during the lockdown. 

Aside from these frequent purchases, the COVID-19 pandemic also introduced us to a portable device commonly found in clinics and hospitals: the pulse oximeter.

What is a Pulse Oximeter?

A pulse oximeter is a portable clip-on electronic device that is used to measure heart rate and oxygen saturation in red blood cells. It can be attached to any location where blood flow can be detected, such as a finger, wrist, or foot. 

The sales of pulse oximeters skyrocketed after people discovered that low oxygen saturation levels can be a sign of COVID-19.

Why is a Pulse Oximeter Needed?

During the COVID-19 outbreak, people were threatened by the COVID-19 pneumonia, an infection in which the air sacs in the lungs fill with fluid or pus. Someone infected with COVID-19 could be experiencing the early stages of COVID-19 pneumonia, which can be detected by a drop in blood oxygen level, even without any difficulty breathing.

In severe cases, when a patient starts losing oxygen, a physician may have only minutes to prevent the risk of brain damage, heart failure, and even death. 

In addition to contracting COVID-19, oxygen saturation can also drop due to:

suffocation, choking, or drowning

poisonous chemical inhalations

allergic reactions

general anesthesia

sleep apnea

heart failure 

emphysema, lung infections, and lung diseases

Types of Pulse Oximeters

There are two types of pulse oximeters according to the Food and Drug Administration:

  1. Prescription Pulse Oximeters: Used by physicians in clinics and hospitals, this FDA-cleared pulse oximeter must be obtained with a prescription.
  2. Over-the-Counter Pulse Oximeters: This type of pulse oximeter can be purchased for personal use at a drugstore or online. This type is not reviewed by the FDA, so it does not require a prescription. Similar to thermometers, an over-the-counter pulse oximeter is not classified as a medical device, so it may be more appropriate for people participating in sports or aviation activities.

Using the Pulse Oximeter

A blood oxygen saturation level between 95% to 100% is considered normal. Anything lower than that could necessitate a doctor’s visit, and a reading lower than 90% would likely require emergency care.

Using a pulse oximeter, you can access quick blood oxygen saturation results without the need for blood samples. The device also assists physicians in determining whether a patient needs supplemental oxygen, such as that provided by ventilators or continuous positive airway pressure machines.

Moreover, some medical professionals also recommend that a patient wear a pulse oximeter while exercising or use pulse oximetry to determine whether physical activity is safe for patients with cardiovascular or respiratory conditions and during stress tests. 

What’s Suitable for Me?

Having a pulse oximeter at home allows you to monitor vital signs without having to visit clinics or hospitals. Although acquiring one is simple due to its over-the-counter availability, what should really be considered is the product’s quality, functionality, and accuracy. 

NONAGON’s Oximeter

Nonagon recognized a need in the market, which led to the birth of remote healthcare and technology integration.

Available in the USA, Nonagon’s all-new N9+ is a handy, clinical-grade kit capable of performing 9 fundamental physical examinations, including the pulse oximeter test, wherever patients are and whenever they want. 

The N9+’s pulse oximeter conveniently and accurately spot-checks the functional oxygen saturation of arterial hemoglobin and pulse rate. The compact, yet robust, N9+ kit also includes a stethoscope, otoscope, and temperature monitor. Furthermore, the device can collect data from the patient’s smartphone camera and voice and text messages to share with the physician.

Temperature, abdominal sounds, blood oxygen levels, lung and heart sounds, and photos of the inner ear and throat are among the biomarkers recorded. Through Nonagon’s cloud-based software, a patient can use the N9+ device and share the data with a physician for closer condition monitoring. Nonagon’s all-new N9+ medical device has also been cleared by the FDA. 

To learn more about the health care advantages of Nonagon, visit Nonagon Website

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