Pulse oximetry is a noninvasive and painless test that measures your oxygen saturation (SpO2) level, or the oxygen levels in your blood. At the same time, it reports your Heart Rate in beats per minute (bpm) and Perfusion Index (PI), a measure of the flow of blood through your arteries. The pulse oximeter is a simple to use, small, clip-like device that usually attaches to your finger. Within a few seconds, the readings are displayed. There are a number of different common use cases for pulse oximetry, including:
Early detection of COVID-19
Pulse oximeters are used to help with the early detection of COVID-19 infections, which may cause initially unnoticeable low arterial oxygen saturation and hypoxia. The New York Times reported that “health officials are divided on whether home monitoring with a pulse oximeter should be recommended on a widespread basis during Covid-19. Studies of reliability show mixed results, and there’s little guidance on how to choose one. But many doctors are advising patients to get one, making it the go-to gadget of the pandemic.”
It should be noted that low cost, consumer quality Pulse Oximeters are to be used only as an indicator of a potential problem that may need further investigation. If you are concerned about your reading, or health, please contact your primary care physician. Every device varies in accuracy and may also be dependent on lighting conditions, temperature and other environmental factors.
 Parker-Pope, Tara (2020-04-24). “What’s a Pulse Oximeter, and Do I Really Need One at Home?“. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-25.