Oximeter: How to choose the best in 2021
Today we are going to talk about a useful device for both doctors, patients, and athletes: the oximeter. Indicated to measure the level of oxygen in the blood, the oximeter performs a simple and painless test.
Especially important for people who have a medical condition that affects the heart and pulses, the oximeter is widely used by athletes. In this article, we will explain how it works, what it is for and what are the best oximeters on the market.
First, the most important
- The oximeter measures blood oxygen saturation and also checks your heart rate.
- Portable and easy to use, this device is also very useful to assist the practice of physical activities.
- In this article we will show you what to consider before buying the best oximeter.
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The best oximeters: Consumers’ favorites
If you need an oximeter, in addition to efficiency, you are certainly looking for a functional design. Therefore, the manufacturer brands have innovated in the variety of models. Therefore, we have selected the best oximeters for sale to facilitate your choice. Check out:
- The best oximeter as a whole
- The ideal option for adults and the elderly
- The most cost-effective oximeter
As it is a medical device, it may not be so simple to choose the ideal oximeter. Therefore, we created this Buying Guide. Here you will find the necessary information to understand everything about oximeter and to guarantee the acquisition of a really efficient product.
What is an oximeter and what is it for?
The oxygen that circulates in our blood is essential for the body to function properly and healthy. But there are situations and illnesses that can cause decreased oxygen levels.
And the lack or low amount of oxygen in the blood, called hypoxemia, can cause anything from severe tissue damage to death.
Then a medical device called an oximeter comes on the scene. Placed on the finger or the earlobes, the oximeter measures the amount of oxygen being carried in your blood, which is called the saturation level (O2sat or SaO2).
Did you know that when your oxygen level is low, your body’s cells may have difficulty working properly and even overload your heart and brain?
With the result of the test performed with the oximeter, it is possible to prevent, control and treat a variety of diseases and clinical conditions. And, in addition to measuring SaO2, the oximeter also checks your heart rate.
Therefore, the use of this device is very important for people who suffer, mainly, with respiratory, cardiovascular and neurological diseases.
Not surprisingly, the oximeter is an indispensable device for doctors, who use it mainly in Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and lungs.
But, because it is small and easy to use, the oximeter can also be used at home, by people who need to monitor the level of saturation, or even by those who practice sports and cardiorespiratory exercises.
For you to have a broader idea it is important to know that the oximeter is used to:
- Control of respiratory diseases;
- Assist sports practitioners;
- Assist people who are in high altitude places;
- Assist doctors and health professionals to carry out diagnoses;
- Ensure that the patient who has had surgery has the correct levels of oxygen in the blood.
Ideally, 95% of your red cells should be carrying oxygen. If your oxygen level is low, you need to call your doctor.
What are the types of oximeters?
There are a few ways to measure blood oxygen saturation. Arterial blood gases, for example, is an invasive test, as it is done by collecting blood.
For this reason, this type of examination is less frequent and more used in more serious situations, which require greater precision of the result.
In addition, arterial blood gases provide other important measures, such as the amount of carbon dioxide, pH and the amount of acids and bicarbonate in the blood.
The main characteristic of the oximeter is that it is a non-invasive procedure.
But for situations where the test needs to be done continuously and more frequently, the oximeter, also known as a pulse oximeter, is used. The main characteristic of the oximeter is that it is a non-invasive and painless procedure, unlike arterial blood gases.
There are currently two types of oximeters: table and finger. The table or bench oximeter is, in general, used in ICUs. This device works by battery or directly connected to the mains and is easy to transport.
The finger oximeter is an even more portable and easy to use version and, therefore, it is used by people who need more frequent monitoring.
The finger oximeter is widely used by doctors and other health professionals during clinical evaluation. But it is also the recommended device for patients to measure blood saturation at home.
Here are the main differences between the procedures that measure blood oxygen saturation:
What is the benefit of the oximeter for practitioners of physical activities?
That physical exercises help to improve the quality of life and condition the respiratory system you already know.
However, more intense physical activities tend to alter some properties of the blood, which may cause the oxygen level to drop.
With this, to avoid hypoxemia, which, as we have seen, is when the level of oxygen in the blood is below 95%, the body reacts by accelerating breathing. At that time, you need to take a break to catch your breath or supplement your oxygen.
For this reason, the oximeter is so useful for athletes, as well as for those who have breathing problems, as the device provides a quick and safe reading of SpO2 levels and heart rate.
Not to mention that, in addition to being functional and efficient, the oximeter is light and small, which ensures that you can use it anywhere, including during races.
How to correctly use the pulse oximeter?
The fact is that, as it is an equipment, the oximeter is not infallible in its measurements. Therefore, care must be taken when using it to optimize the accuracy of the results.
To help you, we’ve put together some tips from experts on how to use the finger oximeter:
- Wash the location where the oximeter will be used
- Check that the oximeter has enough battery
- If the patient is feeling cold or with a cold hand, warm up some water and apply it to the place where the analysis will be done. Ideally, it should be at room temperature.
- Secure the oximeter in place
- Let your hand rest while you have the oximeter attached and support it in a flat place to prevent movement.
- Turn on the oximeter and wait for it to finish reading.
It is worth mentioning that there are already some oximeter models that promise to perform oxygen measurement even if the skin is cold.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of the finger oximeter?
The great advantage of the oximeter is that, by measuring the amount of oxygen in the blood and the heart rate, it helps to detect and then prevent and treat diseases, especially respiratory diseases.
Another advantage is that it is a light, small device that performs the test in a simple, fast and painless way.
Precisely for this reason, the oximeter can be used both by doctors and health professionals and by patients in the home environment. It is also common to use this device in gyms and physiotherapy clinics.
Doctors, speech therapists, physiotherapists, patients and athletes use the oximeter to diagnose, prevent, control and treat diseases.
Still, the oximeter is not a perfect device. The fact is that incorrect readings can occur if, for example, the device falls off the finger during the measurement.
The following are the main advantages and disadvantages of the oximeter:
- Measures blood oxygen level and heart rate
- Portable and functional
- Easy to use and affordable
- Can be used by professionals, patients and practitioners of physical activities
- It is not always necessary
- On many models the battery is short-lived
- Medical guidance is needed to have a better diagnosis
How much does the pulse oximeter cost and where to buy it?
There are several models of oximeter on the market. Therefore, the price can vary widely depending on the brand and the technologies involved. So, you will find this device costing between R $ 85 and R $ 2 thousand.
The most expensive ones are usually for professional use. In addition, you can buy the oximeter in pharmacies, department stores and even hypermarkets.
But if you want practicality and promotional prices, the ideal is to buy online, on sites like Amazon.
Purchasing Criteria: How to choose the best oximeter
The first factor that you should consider before purchasing your oximeter is your goal when using the device. A doctor, for example, should opt for an oximeter of greater accuracy, reliability and durability, even if he needs to pay more for it.
A sportsman should prefer a model whose lightness is the main characteristic. If you are a patient and are going to use the oximeter at home, it is important to consider your doctor’s recommendation.
In all cases, there are some criteria that you should also review:
- Certification of medical use
- Batteries and life
- Display quality
- Adult or child
- Additional functions
Below is a detailed explanation of how to assess each of these factors.
Certification of medical use
One of the most important items that you should consider before purchasing your oximeter is the quality of the device. This is determined through the certification of the National Health Surveillance Agency, Anvisa.
It is this certification that will indicate that the oximeter is recognized by specialists as suitable for medical use.
Batteries and life
Also note the number of batteries needed for the oximeter to function and its average life.
This is especially important if you are going to use the oximeter during physical activity, for example. Some models promise continuous operation of up to 30 hours.
Other models also have energy-saving technology, which automatically turns the device off after a certain period of use.
In addition, the most modern oximeter models report the battery level on the device’s screen. With regard to the number of batteries, you will find models that work with one or two AA batteries.
Some oximeters offer an alarm function, visual and / or audible, to indicate when an anomaly is detected during the measurement of the oxygen level.
In general, the oximeter also allows you to change settings, being able to select the type of alarm to measure both oxygen saturation and heart rate.
This function is useful both for lay patients in analyzing results and in situations where the doctor sees several people at the same time.
That is, just pay attention to the warning and then call the doctor who will evaluate the results.
Some oximeter models have large numbers, which can be beneficial for the elderly.
Oximeters can come in a variety of presentations and designs. Therefore, observe the quality of the display. Some oximeters have large numbers, which can be beneficial for the elderly.
Other models have illuminated displays to aid visualization in dark environments. The most current have a dual color Oled display, which allows you to adjust the brightness and the way information is displayed.
Adult or child
Note that there are oximeter models for both adults and children. For this reason, it is important to check the size of the device’s socket to prevent it from slipping off your finger.
When in doubt, we recommend that you choose the oximeter model that can be used by both adults and children over 1 year of age.
Virtually all oximeters have an additional diagnosis in addition to blood saturation: the measurement of your pulse. And this is very useful, as it can replace traditional pressure devices, which are larger and do not always have digital functions to facilitate measurement.
With this information, it is possible to relate blood pressure with oxygen saturation, obtaining results that are much more accurate and that help healthcare professionals to better monitor their health.
And, if you want even more details, you can use a cardiac monitor to get even more accurate diagnoses.
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