What is oxygen saturation?

Oxygen saturation is the measure of the amount of oxygen available in the bloodstream. As blood is pumped from the heart to the body, it first passes through the lungs, where oxygen molecules are attached to red blood cells to be carried throughout the rest of the body. The percentage of red blood cells that are fully saturated with oxygen is known as arterial oxygen saturation, blood oxygen saturation, or blood oxygen level. Healthy blood oxygen saturation is between 95 and 100 percent, but patients with lung disease often have a lower percentage unless they use supplemental oxygen.

A pulse oximeter is commonly used to determine oxygen saturation. This is a small device that clips onto the patient's fingertips or earlobe and projects two beams of light, one red and one infrared, through the patient's skin. The light beams allow the pulse oximeter to read small changes in the patient's blood color caused by the pulse, which in turn provides an immediate estimate of blood oxygen saturation. Pulse oximeters are most accurate when there is a strong pulse.

For a more accurate reading of arterial oxygen saturation, an arterial blood gas (ABG) test may be administered. In this test, blood is usually drawn from the radial artery in the wrist, although other arteries can also be used. This test can be a bit more painful than other blood tests, which are drawn from a vein rather than an artery, but the test is quick and generally well tolerated with minimal risk to the patient. The results of an ABG are available in minutes.

Patients with blood oxygen levels below 90 percent are considered to have hypoxemia, and a blood oxygen level below 80 percent is known as severe hypoxemia. Difficulty breathing is the main symptom of hypoxemia. There are several causes for this condition, including congenital heart disease, low cardiac output, and interstitial lung disease.

Other lung diseases that can cause hypoxemia include pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), anemia, airway obstruction, lung collapse, fluid buildup in the lungs, and sleep apnea. sleep. Patients with hypoxemia may be given oxygen to increase blood oxygen saturation and are generally advised not to smoke, avoid air pollutants such as secondhand smoke, and exercise regularly if possible. Chronic lung or heart disease should be treated under the advice of a specialist to maintain optimal health.

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