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How to Use Pulse Oximeter

How to Use Pulse Oximeter

Pulse Oximeter is a useful small device that is easy to use. However, some find it difficult to use it. If you are one of those few people who don’t know how to use a pulse oximeter, or you’re going to buy a new scale and are just curious about its use.

Then here we have your back. This article tells you how to use a pulse oximeter and read its display. You can use and read the oximeter after going through this article. Let’s get into it.

Purpose of Using an Oximeter

What’s the purpose of an oximeter? Primarily it is used for two purposes. Those are;

  • Monitoring the oxygen saturation level in hemoglobin
  • To check the pulse rate

Who Can Use Pulse Oximeter

Who is recommended to use a pulse oximeter? Generally, anyone can use this scale to take measurements at home instead of visiting a health care center. However, in some cases, it is recommended by doctors and needs to use by yourself.

  • Patients with Takayasu’s syndrome
  • Athlete
  • Fitness enthusiast
  • Patients with any kind of respiratory problems
  • Asthma patients
  • To check how lung medicine working
  • To monitor how a person handles increased activity levels like exercise

In some other cases, a pulse oximeter is also advised to use, which likely can affect oxygen levels in the blood. Such as;

  • Heart Attack
  • Heart Failure
  • Anemia
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Lung Cancer
  • Pneumonia

These are some main reasons laid to the use of pulse oximeters. However, if your doctor advises you to use it, there can be any other reason for use. Then it is good to buy one to monitor your oxygen level and pulse rate.

Where to Use Pulse Oximeter

There are different types of pulse oximeters. The most common and used oximeter is the fingertip oximeter. This oximeter can use on the following body parts for taking measurements.

  • Finger (Middle or Indexed for better results)
  • Earlobe
  • Toe

How to Use Pulse Oximeter

Here we tell how you can use a Pulse Oximeter. We divided the process into steps for clear and convenient understanding.

Preparing To Use The Pulse Oximeter

First, you must prepare the pulse oximeter to monitor the oxygen percentage and pulse rate before using it.

  • Cleaning the sensor (if necessary)
  • Checking the battery level (if required)

Placing The Pulse Oximeter

Now turn on the oximeter and place it on the person’s body part to take the measurements.

  • Finding the appropriate location to place the sensor (typically a finger or earlobe)
  • Securing the sensor in place
  • Keep it in the right position
  • Keep it until it stops changing the reading

Reading The Results

Now, look at the readings the pulse oximeter displays on the screen. It shows two tasks: the oxygen level (SpO2) and the pulse rate (bpm).


  • 96-100% is normal
  • 95% Acceptable
  • 91-94%, you should seek the doctor.
  • If less than 90%, you should immediately admit yourself to a nearby hospital


  • 40-100 bpm is normal
  • 101-109 bpm is acceptable
  • 110-130 bpm, you should consult with a doctor
  • 131 or above bpm, need urgent medical help

Maintenance and Storage

After the reading, take off the oximeter and keep it safe and secure.

  • Cleaning and maintaining the pulse oximeter
  • Storing the pulse oximeter in a safe place

Tips for Taking Accurate Readings

Here are a few tips or recommendations for current and accurate measurements.

  • Make sure to clean the oximeter.
  • Remove nail polish or other things (in case taking from a finger)
  • Avoid cold fingers
  • Warm your hand
  • Take a rest of five minutes before taking the readings.


This is how you can easily use Pulse Oximeter. Simply you need to place the oximeter on the person’s finger and keep it in the correct position until the readings stop changing. Then note the readings for future comparison because it is good to keep track of oxygen level and pulse rate by taking multiple measurements.