Which Finger is Best For Pulse Oximeters to Measure Oxygen Saturation?

What is a Pulse Oximeter?

This is a noninvasive measuring device. It reads your oxygen saturation levels in a completely painless way. It is small and shaped like a clip. You place the clip on your finger to get readings. The device can detect changes in the efficiency of how your body is moving oxygen through your body. But which finger is best for pulse oximeters?

How Does a Pulse Oximeter Work?

Accurate Pulse Oximeters release beams of different wavelengths through your finger. They are looking for hemoglobin which is the protein that carries oxygen. These proteins will absorb different wavelengths depending on how saturated they are with oxygen. The device is more accurate when your hands are warm and because oxygen levels can change through the day, take a few readings through the day.

Using a Pulse Oximeter.

The pulse oximeter is used for those who have health conditions affecting oxygen levels. COPD, lung cancer, asthma, heart failure, and pneumonia are just a few of the conditions that can affect blood oxygen levels.

Because the blood flow to the extremities is important in measurements, the device is usually placed on the fingers. Depending on the condition you have and your doctor’s advice, you may have to exercise while the device is being used.

Pulse Oximeter Readings

The readings from pulse oximeters are considered accurate and are used in emergency rooms and surgeries. Results from a Best Pulse Oximeter are consistent within a 2-percent difference of the true saturation level.

Ideally, your blood should be carrying more than 89 percent oxygen. This is the amount that keeps your cells and body healthy. When a reading is lower than this, it is not considered dangerous unless it is repetitive or consistent.

Most healthy individuals have a reading of 95 percent. 92 percent indicates that you may have a deficiency with regards to oxygen reaching the cells and tissues in your body.

It is important to note that using pulse oximeters at home is safe and reliable. The best pulse oximeters will provide accurate readings, the same as those used by doctors.

As with the professional pulse oximeters, the home devices can deliver a faulty reading. If you get a low reading with additional symptoms, you should seek medical help. Low readings without any symptoms are probably the result of a faulty reading. Try to test again in a different position such as laying down.

Using a home pulse oximeter is a great way to identify a potential health problem before it gets worse. In the majority of cases, they provide accurate results. Using the devices correctly according to the manufacturer instructions and your doctor’s advice ensures accurate readings. Using the right finger is the best way to avoid false readings.

What Finger is Best for Pulse Oximeters?

Extremity readings are more accurate when the fingers are used. Removing any fingernail polish will provide even better results. You also need to be still when a reading is taken as movement will influence blood flow.

Studies done with readings from all fingers have found that pulse oximetry measurements should be taken using the index, middle, or ring fingers.

The thumb and pinky are not recommended. The readings from each of the three middle fingers were all evaluated as equally accurate.

Most health care professionals will use the index fingers when using pulse oximeters. Studies show the third finger on the dominant hand to be the most accurate. If you are right-handed, the right middle finger would be the best finger to use. However, because the differences between the index and third fingers is minimal, either is considered accurate for pulse oximetry readings.

Final Thoughts

A pulse oximeter is a valuable device for individuals that have certain health conditions. While they are mostly used in hospitals and health care offices, it may be necessary to have one at home. You need to know which finger is best for pulse oximeter readings. That way you can keep track of your health accurately.

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