SpO2 normal values should be between 96% to 99% for a health individual; however this range can vary depending on the amount of oxygen in the air, your current activities, and other factors. For example, if you are at high altitude, your SpO2 may decrease to 94% due to lack of oxygen in the atmosphere.
For patients with mild respiratory diseases, the SpO2 should be 90+%. If the SpO2 level falls below 90% at rest for an extended time period, oxygen should be required. Consult your doctor for more details. Many doctors prefer their patient to have their SpO2 above 90% at all time.
Many insurance will authorize oxygen supply if the SpO2 reading is below 88%.
The amount of oxygen available should be sufficient to meet your body's demand; otherwise you would have hypoxia.
Pulse oximeter works by shining two lights through your finger and measuring the amount of light absorbed as the heart beats. There are situations where the signals are too weak or interfered yielding inaccurate results. Some of them are:
- Low blood perfusion
- Cold hand
- Nail polish
- Hand movement
- Irregular heart beats
- Skin pigmentation
- Intravenous dyes
Regardless of the blood oxygen saturation level, it is key to treat the patient first and take appropriate action as required.
Monitor your pulse rate along with your SpO2. Although pulse rate can vary significantly depending on your conditions and activities, if you see any abnormal readings, see a doctor.
The pleth graph showing in some pulse oximeters also contains valuable information about the health of your heart. See Pulse Oximeter Pleth for more information.