Pulse oximeters are used to measure blood oxygen saturation, which is important because prolonged reduced oxygen saturation can compromise organ function and lead to cardiac or respiratory arrest. It is measured in the hospital setting in the emergency room and in patients with cardiac or respiratory issues such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Pulse oximeters can also be used to diagnose sleep disorders including sleep apnea, as well as by pilots in unpressurized aircraft and athletes operating at very high altitudes. The development of portable, battery-powered pulse oximeters allows oxygen saturation to be monitored at-home and outside of medical institutions, which can decrease healthcare requirements and costs significantly.
WristOx by Nonin Medical
WristOx is pulse oximeter that comprises a sensor attached to the finger, which is connected to a data receiver and display worn on the wrist. The latest model is WristOx2 3150. It provides highly accurate readings of the wearer’s pulse (heart rate) and blood oxygen saturation via the capillaries in the finger. It can record up to 270 hours of patient data, which is transferred to the data management system using either a USB connection or Bluetooth. It is useful both for sleep studies and in the outpatient setting. Some models are targeted specifically at patients with asthma or at risk of congestive heart failure or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Pulse Oximeter by iHealth
The iHealth pulse oximeter is worn on the finger to measure the pulse and blood oxygen saturation of the user. It works by shining two beams into the capillaries (small blood vessels) in the finger to reflect the oxygen levels in the blood and measure the heart rate. The resulting measurements, presented as oxygen saturation (SpO2) and the number of heart beats per minute, then sync with the iHealth MyVitals app on the user’s smartphone. It is marketed mostly as a fitness training aid, and it is likely to be useful for both athletes as well as individuals needing to exercise for health reasons.