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What Is A Portable Pulse Oximeter?

What Is A Portable Pulse Oximeter?

What are Portable Pulse Oximeters?

A pulse oximeter is a device used to measure blood oxygen saturation in a non-invasive and painless method. It is one of the most convenient medical devices to detect any small changes in blood oxygen saturation and how efficiently oxygen is carried out to the different parts of the body far from the heart, like legs and arms.

A portable pulse oximeter is a small device that can be attached to any part of the body like the toes, finger, or earlobe, to measure blood oxygen saturation. While it is commonly placed in the fingers, the device is used in critical care to monitor blood oxygen in patients suffering from respiratory disorders like asthma, COPD, or lung cancer. 

Uses of a Portable Pulse Oximeter

Besides being used to monitor patients with diseases like COPD, Asthma, Pneumonia, and more, Portable Pulse Oximeters are also effective in the following scenarios:

  • Assessing the functionality of new medication for lungs

  • Evaluating the breathing pattern of a patient

  • Evaluating the effectiveness of a ventilator

  • Monitoring blood oxygen saturation during complex surgeries

  • Determining the effectiveness of supplementary oxygen supply

  • Assessing the tolerance of intense physical exercise

How Does A Portable Pulse Oximeter Work?

When the portable pulse oximeter is placed on a toe, finger, or earlobe, a small beam of light passes through the blood under the skin and measures the oxygen content of the blood. It is a painless process as the device measures the amount of light absorbed by the oxygenated or deoxygenated blood. Moreover, the pulse oximeter can also provide you with your heart-beat readings along with your SpO2 levels.

Accuracy of a Portable Pulse Oximeter

Portable pulse oximeters are fairly accurate. The device consistently provides the blood oxygen saturation level and heartbeat with a maximum difference of 2% in either way. Factors that can affect the accuracy of a portable pulse oximeter are:

  • Nail Polish

  • Inadequate Blood Circulation

  • Pigmented Skin

  • Skin Thickness

  • Body Temperature

  • Frequent Tobacco Use


Portable pulse oximeters are an easy, non-invasive, and painless test to ensure blood oxygen saturation (SpO2) and pulse rates. Besides some minor skin irritation from prolonged use, a portable pulse oximeter poses no risks or threats to its user. 

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