Home 5 News 5 How to Read and Use a Pulse Oximeter?
How to Read and Use a Pulse Oximeter?

Nov 23, 2022

Pulse oximeters have become so commonplace in the medical device world that they’re often considered one of the five key vital signs for understanding a person’s overall health. Because of the high regard, we place on blood oxygen levels, it’s important to know what constitutes a normal SpO2 reading, as well as an average pulse rate.

We have been exposed to many household medical devices from the spread of the Covid-19 epidemic, the most popular of which is the pulse oximeter, if you are not familiar with it, please quickly understand the pulse oximeter, pulse oximeter A pulse oximeter is an electronic device that measures your heart rate and the amount of oxygen in your red blood cells, how to read and use a pulse oximeter?

What does SpO2 mean?

SpO2 means blood oxygen saturation. Oxygen saturation (SpO2) is a measure of the amount of oxygen your blood is carrying as a percentage of the maximum amount of oxygen it can carry. There is a normal range of values ​​for blood oxygen saturation. When you are below Dangerously occurs at this value, high altitude and other factors may affect the normal value of your individual situation.

How to use?

First of all, you need to understand how to use the pulse oximeter. The operation of the pulse oximeter is very simple. After you open the device, open the clamp device and put your finger into the device (it is recommended to be the middle finger of the right hand). The detector of the device will emit rays of two wavelengths, which are fed back to the display screen of the pulse oximeter through the technical principle. This process takes about 5-10 seconds until the reading is stable and then read.

How does a pulse oximeter work?

Pulse oximeters work by shining a light on a fingertip at the top of the device to look at hemoglobin, the protein contained in red blood cells that transports oxygen from the inhaled lungs to various parts of the body. If your hemoglobin is more oxygenated, it absorbs more infrared light from the pulse oximeter, and vice versa, it absorbs less infrared light, allowing the blood oxygen saturation to be calculated. Hypoxia, or hypoxemia, can be dangerous when your hemoglobin has less oxygen, and pulse oximeters can sound the alarm in time.

pulse and heart rate

A pulse is a form of heartbeat feeling. You can usually feel it by touching the inside of your wrist. Heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute. The heart rate test is the second value that the pulse oximeter gives you. Measuring your heart rate can help you monitor your physical health at all times.


What is the normal heart rate you should have? Your age and overall health determine your resting heart rate (the younger you are, the higher your heart rate tends to be).

Newborn (birth to 4 weeks): 100 – 205 bpm*.

Infants (4 weeks to 1 year): 100 – 180 bpm*.

Toddler (1 to 3 years): 98 – 140 bpm*.

Preschoolers (3 to 5 years): 80 – 120 bpm.

School Age (5 to 12): 75 – 118 bpm.

Teens (13 to 18): 60 – 100 bpm.

For adults (18+), the expected resting heart rate range is 60 – 100 bpm.

How to read?

According to the method I just taught you, the pulse oximeter will give you a reading after 5-10 seconds, which is a two-digit percentage, for example, if you see 99%, it means that 99% of the hemoglobin contains oxygen, Normal blood oxygen saturation is 95% to 99%.

If your readings are below the 95% level and dropping, contact your doctor promptly, you will most likely need oxygen. However, in some cases, it will affect the accuracy of the readings. Avoid these situations as much as possible, and read the pulse oximeter in a normal environment.

What Factors Affect Pulse Oximeter Readings?

I believe that readers who follow me have seen this topic in previous articles. Readers who don’t understand can click on the link of this topic. Here is a brief introduction for you.

1. Insufficient blood flow

2. Brightness of ambient light source

3. Use after exercise

4. Blood Thinning Medications

5. Artificial nails, nail polish, and other finger accessories

6. The wrist is disturbed by external gravity

7. Self-health



While some may view a pulse oximeter as a device that simply measures blood oxygen saturation and pulse rate, it serves a much more important role in the first aid and therapeutic world. Given its ability to non-invasively determine the severity of respiratory stress, pulse oximetry is used to determine the fifth vital sign of a patient’s overall health. This makes the pulse oximeter play an important role in emergency medical treatment and health monitoring.

Overall, the variability and efficiency of medical-grade pulse oximeters are important factors in their design. These devices are often used in medical settings, especially those related to emergency situations. Emergency medical technicians in serious health-related crises rely on such medical devices to make critical decisions in situations that require immediate action.

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