The Pulse Oximeter and Silent Hypoxia- why you need to pay attention.
So, I’ve been reading a lot for a while about “oximeters” going around a lot.
What is a Pulse Oximeter ?
Pulse oximeters are medical instruments that measure the amount of oxygen in the blood of a patient and warn the health-care practitioner if the levels of oxygen drop below acceptable levels, enabling rapid intervention. These devices are important in any situation that needs monitoring of blood oxygen levels in a patient such as procedures, emergency and intensive care, and hospital wards for treatment and recovery.
What brought me to the oximeter?
Pnemonia is abnormally dangerous, we all know that. But then there is the coronavirus pneumonia. When COVID-19 first hits with pneumonia, patients do not feel short of breath, even though their oxygen levels drop. And by the time they do, they suffer alarmingly low levels of oxygen and mild to extreme pneumonia
Dr. Richard Levitan’s opinion piece suggests that because many patients have COVID-19 pneumonia but didn’t complain of breathing issues, they don’t realize that something is gradually harming their lungs. The infection triggers something called “silent hypoxia,” a hard-to-detect type of oxygen deprivation.
This thought scared me, but then I read further.
“In COVID-19 patients, we often see that they look comfortable, but their oxygen saturation is significantly worse than normal,” said Elissa Perkins, M.D.,Associate Emergency Medicine Professor at Boston Medical Centre
This was news to me. I follow many sites where doctors share stories of patients showing up with COVID-19 pneumonia almost a week late.
So why Pulse Oximeter?
Since we know the basic symptoms of coronavirus , we could also take some extra precautions. Easy, silent hypoxia can be observed through the pulse oximeter. The simple device is safe, easy to use — simply add it to your fingertips and turn the system on
Oximeters are also important as patients with COVID-19 can have pneumonia for days before they ever experience shortness of breath. Low levels of oxygen are a way of identifying these cases earlier — without a coronavirus examination or a visit by a doctor.
Pulse oximeters are realy reliable, they helped save lived of 2 manhattan people by helping in early detection of the covid pneumonia.
Patients with respiratory problems from a COVID-19 infection turn up at the hospital long after a common infection with pneumonia has been detected. The pattern requires the use of more ventilators and more people are dying from the infection than they need. Lives could be saved if they detected the infections sooner.
“If somebody is recording shortness of breath, that’s an important symptom,” Megan Coffee, an infectious disease clinician, NYC said.
Low level of oxygen may not exactly indicate covid-19 pneumonia but it can certainly act as a early alerting system.
The American Thoracic Society and the American Lung Association, however, agree that most people do not necessarily need one, but may have one, if they have unique breathing conditions that would demand one. In the absence of these factors, checking a pulse oximeter often could result in increased anxiety, according to ABC News
Pulse Oximeter by itself is an important device to have it at home along with blood pressure monitor, thermometer etc. It basically measures the level of oxygen in your blood.
Hope you agree with me. But please note that my note on pulse oximeter is my personal opinion. It is device only to indicate oxygen level in blood. You should discuss with your family physician on any health conditions you may have.
Have a good day!
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