Finger pulse oximeter: what is it for and values

Finger pulse oximeter: what is it for and values

The finger pulse oximeter it is a very important tool for those who need to monitor the percentage of hemoglobin saturated with oxygen compared to the total amount of hemoglobin present in the blood.

The pulse oximeter (also calledoximeter or oximeter) can also be useful for monitoring the state of physical fitness by monitoring the evolution of the pulse before, during and after a controlled physical effort.

Finger pulse oximeter: how it works

The pulse oximeter, which you see depicted in the opening image of this article, is a probe in the shape of a clamp, composed of two diodes that generate beams of light in the red and infrared range and a photocell that receives the light after the two bundles have crossed the skin.
The device can be applied to the index finger of the hand and shows on a display the oxygen saturation at each heartbeat and the number of beats per minute.

Pulse oximeter: normal values

A person in good health presents a percentage of hemoglobin saturated with oxygen greater than 95%, with optimal values ​​around 97-98%.

Following particular diseases or after surgery, the red blood cells reduce their ability to transport oxygen to the body, bringing the oxygen saturation below 95%.

Pulse oximeter: what is it for

In the cases mentioned above wear a pulse oximeter it allows to immediately highlight any further drops that may lead to hypoxemia with values ​​below 90% that require immediate intervention.

Some of the diseases that can lead to hypoxemia are for example: pneumonia, emphysema, edema, emphysema and pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), anemia, sleep apnea or other diseases that can lead to obstruction of the airways.

The pulse oximeter can come back helpful even to people who do not suffer from any pathology to monitor your fitness.

For example, I use it every month when I check my fitness in the gym I frequent, the Tonic in via Mestre, in Milan, fixing it to the index finger while I perform a series of ups and downs at a controlled pace on a cube about 50 cm high.

In my case, the value that I limit myself to considering together with my coach is the number of pulses detected before, during and after the exercise.

As the level of training improves, after finishing the exercise, the pulse should return to a value close to that of rest in the shortest possible time. In my case, as you can see from the value shown by the pulse oximeter that I wear on my index 52 beats per minute.

An alternative to pulse oximeter for what I use it for io is given by heart belts associated with a heartbeat detector or by one of the modern watches that include sensors to detect beats directly from the wrist, without the need to use a belt.

For example, I use a TomTom Multisport Cardio but I must say that the pulse oximeter is much more precise and sensitive in measuring the instantaneous variations of the beat and in addition, as we will see later, much less expensive! :-)

Finger pulse oximeter: where to buy it and at what price

In the opening photo of this article you can see the pulse oximeter that I bought on Amazon at this addresswhich I believe is characterized by an excellent quality / price ratio.

This is a product made by Etekcity sold to a price decidedly contained (29.99 euros) which has the following characteristics:

  • color monitor which simultaneously shows the percentage of hemoglobin saturated with oxygen and the number of average pulsations per minute with a graph that highlights the trend in real time.
  • SpO2 measurement accuracy: ± 2%
  • Pulse rate measurement accuracy: 2 BPM (beats per minute)
  • battery operation (2 AAA batteries included in the package)
  • Auto-off after 16 seconds of inactivity to save batteries
  • lace and case
  • instruction booklet in Italian and well written
  • Certification CE; 93/42 / EEC;
  • Two-year guarantee by Etekcity.

The contents of the finger oximeter package I ordered on Amazon

Finger pulse oximeter: how to use it for perfect measurement

The use is very simple: just insert your finger in the appropriate compartment by pressing and releasing the "pliers" and then press the blue button to start the detection.

Obviously, the detection is completely painless and the housing in which to insert the finger is "firm and comfortable" at the same time, ideal for using it even on the move, as regards the pulse detection.

Regarding the detection of the percentage of hemoglobin saturated with oxygen compared to the total amount of hemoglobin present in the blood, it is advisable to take the following precautions to avoid a false measurement:

  • wash your hands with soap and warm water before use so as to clean them and slightly increase the temperature of the finger (the cold can in fact cause a slowdown in blood flow or poor perfusion with the possible consequence of erroneously low readings)
  • make sure you don't have any nail polish on the finger used for the measurement (absorbing the light the enamel would distort the detection of the sensor)
  • avoid measuring in an environment with too bright light in particular, move away from infrared lights.

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