Pulse Oximetry Saves Lives
Pulse oximetry is an effective diagnostic tool in neonatal care, primary care, and in home health settings
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Important Screening for Congenital Heart Defects
(CHDs) in Newborns
- According to recent data from the CDC, 30% of infant deaths due to birth defects in the
US are attributed to congenital heart defects.*
- Over 7,000 babies (or 18 of every 10,000) are born in the US every year with one of
seven critical congenital heart defects (CCHDs) and nearly 300 of those babies will be sent
home with their heart defect undiagnosed.*
Pulse oximetry is an effective tool in screening for CCHDs and can potentially detect the
presence of a CCHD without the presence of other symptoms. Early detection is critical in
possibly finding a treatment regimen or procedure that could prevent death or disability.
Managing Acute and Chronic Respiratory Diseases Such as Asthma & COPD
- Pulse oximetry is an important complement to spirometry in the assessment of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary
Disease (COPD). A pulse oximeter is an excellent tool to monitor for instances of short-term respiratory
compromise in COPD patients.
- Pulse oximeters can also be used to monitor the immediate effectiveness of treatments for Asthma
sufferers, especially children with severe and acute wheezing.
In recent years, pulse oximeters have become an effective diagnostic tool in the successful management of
COPD, Asthma, and other acute respiratory disorders. While, pulse oximetry can be a useful aid in clinical
diagnosis and assessment, it must also be accompanied by regular physical examinations as it is not sufficient
for diagnosis by itself.
Pulse Oximetry in the Home
Some basic principles of effective pulse oximetry in the home
- Attach the pulse oximeter to your finger and check the SpO2 percentage on the
display screen. Most pulse oximeters will also display your pulse rate on the screen.
- Determine the appropriate SpO2 targets with your doctor. Generally, it is advisable
to keep your oxygen saturation level above 92%.
It is increasingly common for individuals to purchase and use pulse oximeters in their
homes as an integral part of their personal healthcare management. COPD and CHD
patients often find pulse oximeters very helpful in monitoring supplemental oxygen usage and for ensuring
proper SpO2 saturation during activity or light exercise. It is important to speak with a doctor about the
proper techniques for using pulse oximeters at home.
*Broussard CS, Gilboa SM, Lee KA, Oster M, Petrini JR, Honein MA. Racial/Ethnic Differences in Infant Mortality Attributable to Birth Defects by Gestational Age. Pediatrics. 2012; 130:e518-27