Pulse-Oximetry (Oxygen Readings)

A pulse-oximetry test, commonly referred to as pulse-ox, is used to measure the oxygen level in the blood. It’s a simple and painless test that’s often performed as part of the typical check-in procedures, along with getting your blood pressure, heart rate, height, weight, and a quick personal history. A clip-like device is gently placed on to your finger, and a light probe measures how much oxygen is in the blood.

Uses of a Pulse-Ox Test

In addition to check-in, your physician may request a pulse-ox for many other reasons, including:

  • During or after a procedure that required sedation or general anesthetic
  • To see how well the lungs are working
  • During stress-tests to see how a person can handle increased activity levels
  • To see if a patient requires a ventilator or to make sure it’s working
  • To check a patient who may stop breathing during sleep, a condition known as sleep apnea.

This test is used to ensure that enough oxygen is in the blood, especially in people who have experienced the following conditions:

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Anemia
  • Lung Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Pneumonia

A pulse-ox test give your physician a better understanding of the oxygen level in your blood, which may be necessary in diagnosing possible breathing problems or other pulmonary issues. This painless procedure is simple to complete, and provides your care team with immediate results so they can make a better-informed decision about your health and treatment plan.