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Oximeters

What are oximeters?

Oximeters are monitors that measure the level of SpO2 (peripheral oxygen saturation) in your blood, as well as your pulse rate. They can also be known as blood oxygen monitors, pulse oximeters and oxygen saturation machines. At Walmart.com, you'll find an assortment of oximeters to keep track of your blood oxygen levels.

It's important to check your blood oxygen levels if you suffer from respiratory or cardiac problems like COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), sleep apnea and hypopnea. If your blood oxygen levels are too low, your body's cells can struggle to work properly, which can put a strain on your heart and brain. Most people require an oxygen saturation level of at least 89% to keep cells in good working order.

What are the advantages of oximeters?

The majority of consumer-level oximeters are applied to your finger, so they're wonderfully noninvasive; you don't have to worry about needles or blood tests, and you can check your oxygen saturation levels almost anywhere. Oximeters are used by pilots, mountain climbers and athletes, as well as for simple in-home monitoring. They also give a reading quickly so you don't have to take time out of your busy day.

What are the disadvantages of oximeters?

Since oximeters are noninvasive, they have certain limitations. They can only measure hemoglobin saturation, not ventilation, so they can't completely measure respiratory sufficiency. They can't be used as a substitute for blood gas levels checked in a lab, since they can't measure base deficit, carbon dioxide levels, blood pH or bicarbonate concentration. They can also give erroneous readings due to cold fingers, highly calloused skin or movement like shivering.