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Measure Oxigen with Finger Pulse Monitors and Oximeters

Updated on July 8, 2011

Pulse Gadget

Finger Pulse Monitors (Pulse Oximiters)

People purchase finger pulse monitors and pulse oximiters to measure how much oxygen is being transmitted in the blood via hemoglobin (oxygen saturation). They also provide simple pulse rates. These devices are useful for patients to home monitor conditions related to blood or respiratory diseases. They are also helpful to athletes who train, compete and recreate in high altitude sports and recreation such as mountain climbing, high-altitude hiking and aviation sports.

Benefits and Drawbacks

Pulse oximeters are commonly used at home by patients of blood and respiratory conditions because they are non invasive, cheap to buy, easy to use and read, they can be very compact and they can detect certain conditions earlier than the normal eye. The drawback is that there are many current finger pulse monitors and pulse oximiters on the market today. Some are geared towards athletics and some are geared more towards monitoring the ill. Knowing which monitor is most accurate under which conditions is very important. Be sure to research any device you consider buying to see that it fits your specific needs. Most websites provided in-depth information pertaining to the specifics of their product.

Oxy-Go Demonstration

How do they work?

Finger Pulse Monitors measure the expansion and contraction of your blood vessels to read your pulse. A simple calculation can determine your blood pressure. Pulse Oximiters transmit light waves through your finger to measure the oxygen saturation in your blood. Typically, one side of the device that clamps around your finger has a light emitter. The other side has a light sensor. When light is transmitted through your finger to the detector, only a  certain amount will make it through. The amount of light that passes through your finger is determined by a number of factors. One of those factors is the density of oxygen in the blood (or saturation). The more oxygen in your blood, the less light that passes through your finger. This is obviously a simplified version of how the oximiter functions. There are more detailed examples and explanations available.


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