Have you ever heard of keeping your finger on the pulse? Well, we’re talking about using your patients’ fingers to take their pulse, and measure their oxygen levels.
That’s right. We’re talking about pulse oximeters.
Your patients’ oxygen levels are an important part of their care. Tracking the amount of oxygen in their bloodstream is another data point that can help you come to the proper diagnosis.
But where do you get them? Where is the best place to buy pulse oximeters? Well, today is your lucky day. That’s exactly what we’re going to cover in this article.
By the end of this, you’ll know everything you need to know about a finger oximeter.
Read along with us!
Why Buy Pulse Oximeters
Well, as we mentioned above, your patients’ oxygen levels can be an important part of their diagnosis. But, more recently, there’s been an important link made between COVID-19 and pulse oximeters.
Since early on in the pandemic, medical professionals have noticed that patients can develop a condition known as “happy hypoxia.” On the surface, patients with this condition look like nothing is wrong. But, when looking deeper, doctors discover that patients suffering from this condition have severely low oxygen levels.
How were they able to tell? By taking readings with a pulse oximeter.
Happy hypoxia is difficult to diagnose without any knowledge of a patient’s blood oxygen levels. These levels need to be measured because the condition can be extremely dangerous. Patients can deteriorate suddenly without any prior warning signs. In the blink of an eye, these patients may need access to life-saving machinery that can support their breathing.
What Is A Pulse Oximeter?
You might be wondering “what exactly is a pulse oximeter.” Most people are familiar with them, but if you’re not, that’s ok.
A pulse oximeter is a non-invasive medical tool that can clip to a patient’s fingertip or earlobe. The device will measure the patient’s heart rate, as well as how much oxygen is present in their blood. When medical professionals combine this information with other medical data, it enables them to make life-saving decisions about their patients.
By reading the heart rate and blood oxygen levels of their patients, doctors can decide if breathing support is necessary. This needs to be a quick decision since access to this equipment typically requires transferring the patient to a bigger hospital.
Who Needs A Pulse Oximeter?
During the current pandemic, sales of pulse oximeters are increasing in certain areas. Doctors send their patients home with one of these devices so they can monitor their patient’s oxygen levels after discharge.
One concern, though, is that the devices may not be as accurate when they’re sent home with patients. Part of the reason for this is that patients may not be using them properly. Another reason is that the device has difficulty reading oxygen levels through darker skin tones.
Regardless, the devices have been extremely helpful during COVID-19. A pulse oximeter can’t diagnose COVID-19, but it can help patients significantly after they’ve been diagnosed.
A pulse oximeter can help a COVID-19 patient see when the level of oxygen in their blood is falling. This is important in people who are prone to developing more serious symptoms from a bout with COVID-19. This means the older sector of the population, as well as people with comorbidities.
This group also includes patients with serious conditions that may put them at higher risk. Those conditions would be any serious heart or lung problems.
How They Work
Pulse oximeters work by emitting two different wavelengths of light through a person’s fingertip or earlobe. These lights shine through the outer layer of the skin and can report back on how much oxygen is currently in the bloodstream.
The device does this because different amounts of light are absorbed by oxygenated and deoxygenated blood.
People in good health usually have an oxygen saturation level of 95% to 100%. If oxygen saturation drops below 92% it could be a sign of serious illness. If someone is receiving a reading of 92% or below off of their pulse oximeter, they may need immediate medical care.
Treatment for people with low oxygen levels can vary from country to country. The exact procedure depends on where you are in the world, but it usually involves seeking more serious medical evaluation.
When medical clinics buy pulse oximeters, they usually undergo clinical testing. This is a key step in testing the device’s accuracy when reading oxygen levels.
These devices are available for purchase online. But people need to be wary when buying pulse oximeters themselves. Online prices can often be higher than what the device actually costs.
Buyers also need to be careful of very low-cost device options. Just because a device has low prices doesn’t mean it’s the best pulse oximeter. You want to make sure you’re buying a device that has a government agency’s approval. An example would be the FDA.
It’s also important to be sure you’re using medical-grade devices and not personal technology. We know we live in a technology age. Many smartphones and smartwatches offer pulse oximeters. But these devices don’t give patients an accurate reading.
Buy Pulse Oximeters That Are Medical Grade
The most accurate readings you can find will be with a certified pulse oximeter device. Even then patients should still proceed with some amount of caution.
Even medical devices aren’t 100% accurate all of the time. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that pulse oximeters can be inaccurate up to 12% of the time when used on dark skin tones. And 4% of the time when used on lighter skin.
This is why patients should never rely on pulse oximeter readings alone. Patients, and doctors alike, should be paying attention to symptoms. If a patient is experiencing confusion or an acute case of shortness of breath, they should seek medical attention. Even if they appear to have appropriate levels of oxygen in their blood.
The benefits of pulse oximeters far outweigh the inaccuracies. In fact, when a patient uses a pulse oximeter consistently over time, the device may help prevent serious medical conditions. Continual readings of blood oxygen levels can alert doctors of declining lung health in their patients before it’s too late.
The Best Finger Pulse Oximeter
So, by now you might be wondering “what is the best finger pulse oximeter?” That’s a great question. There are a wide variety of makes and models available on the market, so we understand it can be overwhelming.
If you need to buy pulse oximeters, here are some of the best available for your medical clinic.
One of the nicest features of this finger pulse oximeter is its FDA approval. The device is also suitable for patients of all ages. The one downside is its short battery life.
The Contec device also has premier accuracy when it comes to its readings. The CMS-50DL has been tested by researchers. They’ve concluded that the readings from the device are accurate enough to comply with ISO standards.
Zacurate Pro Series 500DL
This device from Zacurate rates as the best budget option available. The device is both accurate and reliable but doesn’t boast any sort of rating or certification from a government health organization.
The 500DL reads oxygen levels and your heart rate. Both numbers display nicely on Zacurate’s easy-to-read display screen.
While it does have longer battery life than the Contec device, it’s not a suitable option for children. It’s more appropriate for patients 12 years of age or older.
This is one of the more unique, cutting-edge devices. Instead of clipping to the patient’s fingertip, the Wellue 02Ring is exactly that. A ring.
Patients can wear this ring on their thumb to get accurate oxygen and heart rate readings. Clinical studies have been able to prove that ring devices don’t sacrifice any accuracy over their fingertip counterparts.
This device also leverages modern technology as it can pair with your mobile device via Bluetooth.
Since it can be comfortably worn around your finger, it’s also a great option for patients who need to wear a pulse oximeter overnight. Doctors usually prescribe this for their patients dealing with sleep apnea or COPD.
The O2Ring also offers vibrating alerts. This is helpful if you’re wearing the ring overnight. The vibration function is a way to gently alert you if oxygen levels fall too low. Patients may prefer this much more than a loud beeping alert.
The major drawback of this device is that it is more expensive than a standard finger oximeter.
That’s A Wrap
There you have it. All the information you need to buy pulse oximeters. When it comes to monitoring your patient’s health, it’s one of the most important tools you can use. And the fact that it can gather all of that information, while still being non-invasive, makes it a vital part of any medical facility’s toolbelt.
If you have any questions about medical monitoring devices, Infinium is here to help. We offer a variety of medical services and equipment and can consult you and your team on the best way to improve your medical facility’s performance.
Contact us today and we can discuss what Infinium can provide to help you succeed.