Ways to Choose a Pulse Oximeter

Buying an inaccurate pulse oximeter for the measurement of oxygen saturation of the blood and heart rate may lead to dangerous outcomes. A patient’s health can be at risk if, the device gives faulty results. Therefore, buying a good device giving accurate results is extremely important. This medical device is used extensively in hospitals and by people who require regular monitoring of the above mentioned health parameters.

  • Patients suffering from medical conditions like asthma and Chronic Pulmonary Obstructive Disease (COPD), often use this device to monitor oxygen levels because low oxygen levels in the blood of such patients can be extremely dangerous, and sometimes can prove to be fatal.
  • Athletes who engage in extensive training and workout sessions need to monitor their blood oxygen levels to check for sudden drop of oxygen in the blood.
  • Pilots flying airplanes which are not pressurized to maintain oxygen levels, use a pulse oximeter to check if oxygen supplements are needed.
  • Mountaineers climb high altitudes. In those environment, oxygen content in the atmosphere is less as compared to lower altitudes. An oximeter helps them to conveniently monitor their blood oxygen levels.

As all of these people have reasons to use a pulse oximeter to monitor their state of health, getting the best device in terms of accuracy and ease of use, is extremely necessary. So, let’s see how you can select a device that meets all the user requirements.

Parameters for Choosing a Pulse Oximeter

Manufacturer
Pulse oximeters are manufactured by several companies. The point to consider here is the reputation of the manufacturer. Buy the device from a well-known manufacturer to feel rest assured about the quality standards maintained during the manufacturing process.

Size
The device is available in large and small sizes. If you are buying an oximeter for a hospital setting, a large-sized device will be good, but if it is required for personal use, a smaller one will serve the purpose.

Type
Pulse oximeters are of various types. Adult oximeters are used for adults whereas, pediatric oximeters are intended for children. Hand-held devices are preferred by individuals who take their own readings, while sleep unit apnea oximeters are used to monitor blood oxygen levels during a sleep study conducted on sleep apnea patients. So, analyze your need and purchase the device accordingly.

Accuracy
Accuracy is a critical parameter that must be kept in mind while looking for the right oximeter. As mentioned before, inaccurate analysis of vital parameters can be extremely dangerous. To find the level of accuracy of the device, you can take two simultaneous readings, one with the product you are checking out, and the other with an already established accurate device. Similar readings in both oximeters will confirm the accuracy of the device under study.

Alarm
Oxygen level of blood and heart rate are often continuously monitored in patients with serious illnesses. Oximeters used in these cases are usually equipped with alarms which ring each time the blood oxygen level drops below the normal level. This feature is extremely helpful for the caregiver, as immediate action can be taken. If the need be, an oximeter with an alarm setting can be a good choice.

Portability
Think, is oximeter portability something you need? Some devices are portable and some are not. If you want the device to be with you all the time, and you need to carry it in your pocket or purse, a small-sized, easy-to-use portable oximeter must be your pick.

Reviews
Look for product reviews either online or ask people you know who are already using the device. Taking a physician’s recommendation can also help in selecting a good quality oximeter. Many websites mention reviews on various products. Going through them can help in understanding which brand is more popular for use.

Price
First thing to note here is that, a high price does not always guarantee a good product. Devices available in the market, differ a lot in price. Some cost less than hundred dollars, while some are worth a couple of thousand. Therefore, decide the features you want and the amount of money you are willing to spend. With these things clear in mind, there should be no confusion in choosing an oximeter.

Warranty Period
Confirm the warranty period for the product. Some companies offer a one year warranty and some offer two. It is wise to choose an oximeter which is covered under a two-year warranty period so that you get a longer period of coverage. You don’t have to worry about whom to contact if there is a problem with the device.

Refund facility
Ask whether the refund facility is available or not. What if you buy the device and later find that it does not work properly? Therefore, buy the oximeter from a manufacturer who is ready to refund the money if, their product fails to work after opening the pack.

Convenience
For people who are going to operate the oximeter on their own, the highest priority must be to check if the device is easy to use. Buying a device that is difficult to use will be a waste of money.

Online availability
Pulse oximeters can also be bought online. Through the Internet, it is possible to check the specifications and price of the devices that are available in the market. Many manufacturers also have special offers to increase the sales of their product. This can be an advantage, if you have already studied a product and want to save some money through online shopping.

Manual Testing
If you get a chance, try to use the oximeter manually before you make the purchase, and measure the blood oxygen saturation and pulse. In this way, you can check whether the device is working properly or not.

A pulse oximeter is clipped onto a finger, covering the nail portion to take the readings. You can either compare its accuracy with another device or share the pulse oximeter readings with a physician who will be able to judge the device quality. By conducting a thorough research on various devices available in the market and by studying the above parameters, you will be able to pick the best device for use.