Why do I Need my Oxygen Levels Monitored?
Almost all people who feel unwell enough to require hospitalisation will have their oxygen levels checked via pulse oximetry, as often this can show the first signs of any underlying problems. Any conditions of the lungs, heart or blood flow and blood volume will be represented by the reading given by the machine.
If at any time, the saturation level drops below the level that is normal for that person, or below 90%, investigations and corrective treatments will be needed to determine the cause and treat as necessary. Pulse oximetry is used throughout surgical procedures, especially those that involve the use of general anaesthetics and help the doctors to assess the overall health of their patient. It will also be monitored post-operatively and becomes a routine part of the observations such as blood pressure and heart rate that will be frequently monitored by the nurses in the immediate recovery period following surgery. Conditions that Pulse Oximetry is suitable for:
- Diagnosing and managing a severe exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in the community.
- Grading the severity of an asthma attack. Where oxygen saturations are less than 92% in air, consider the attack potentially life-threatening.
- Assessing severity and oxygen requirements for patients with community-acquired pneumonia.
- Assessing severity and determining management in infants with bronchiolitis.