Health & Medical Lung Health

How to Check Oxygen Saturation

    Arterial Blood Gas

    • 1). Find the radial artery on the lateral side of the hand, if held supine, or the far side of the wrist, if palms are facing upward. If a central line (a catheter involving a broad area of the cardiovascular system) has already been placed, you can take the sample from there as well.

    • 2). Use the Allen Test as a safety measure to enhance blood flow to the radial artery, and test for valid circulation. Use anesthetic in the wrist area and enter a needle into the artery to fill the test container. Bandage the area. Dispose of the needle properly.

    • 3). Ship the test to a third-party location, or complete using a blood gas analyzer. Several brands of automated blood gas analyzers rapidly complete the test. According to the US National Library of Medicine, a result of 94% oxygen and above is considered normal.

    Pulse Oximeter

    • 1). Use a pulse oximeter, a mechanical device used on the tip of a patient's finger, to measure both pulse and specific oxygen concentration. You can also use it on the ear, or on the foot of an infant. The oximeter works by measuring the degree of red color recognized. The more red opacity between the sensors, the higher degree of oxygen saturation.

    • 2). Fit the pulse oximeter to the patient's finger. Place or tape the sensor on the index finger. Wait a few seconds and read the digital indicator for results.

    • 3). Verify that the number is 94% or above, which is the normal range. Patients with obstructive pulmonary disease may have lower baseline numbers.

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