My oxygen saturation

What is my oxygen saturation?

The body needs enough oxygen to function properly. Your lungs take in oxygen with every breath you take. Once the oxygen is in your lungs it can be transferred into your blood which is pumped round your body by your heart.

A pulse oximeter tests:

  • How fast your heart is beating
  • How well you are breathing. 
  • To do this it checks how much oxygen is in your blood.
Lady having her oxygen saturation measured by a health care working using an oxometer on her finger

How to use the pulse oximeter

How to use the pulse oximeter.

easy on the i graphic os a pulse oximeter attached to a finger and showing heart rate and oxygen saturation level
  1. The pulse oximeter will not work properly if you have nail varnish on or if you are wearing false nails so remove these first.
  2. Make sure your hands are warm, the pulse oximeter will not work properly if your hands are cold.
  3. Wash your hands.
  4. Rest comfortably for 5 minutes,
  5. Put the pulse oximeter on the end of one of your fingers and switch it on.  It should not hurt.
  6. Keep your arm still. You can rest your arm on a pillow or cushion so that you are comfortable.
  7. Wait for the numbers on the pulse oximeter to stop changing
  8. One number measures how fast your heart is beating, the other number measures how much oxygen is in your blood.

What do the readings mean?

This is a pulse Oximeter.

Yours may look slightly different but they all work in a similar way.

On the Oximeter shown here, the number on the left shows the oxygen saturation as a percentage (%Sp02).

The number on the right shows the heart rate in beats per minute (PRbmp).

What pulse rate or oxygen saturation level is right for me?

When you use an oximeter to measure your pulse rate and oxygen levels you can compare these numbers with the numbers that are usual for you.

You will find this information in your Keeping My Chest Healthy Care Plan.

Your Keeping My Chest Healthy Care Plan’ will also tell you what to do if these numbers are different from what is usual for you.