Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pulse Oximeter Update

My last post got comments and emails from parents interested in purchasing a pulse oximeter so I felt I needed to give this disclaimer--I know most doctors do not like parents having a personal pulse oximeter in their home. They fear parents will not notice the signs of respiratory distress and will only rely on the pulse oximeter results.

I know the signs of respiratory distress and all three times that Morgan was admitted to the hospital for pneumonia and supplemental oxygen she did not have ANY signs of respiratory distress-- no labored breathing, no retractions, no loss of color to her lips, etc. She had a fever, cough and low oxygen levels. On the other hand, my son who has asthma can have all the signs of respiratory distress but still be around 90% on his oxygen saturations. Even though his oxygen isn't low he still needs to go to the ER, his body is able to compensate with increased respirations, labored breathing and retractions but only for so long.

My point is that a pulse oximeter is helpful when there aren't other signs of respiratory distress. It is an additional piece of information but not the only one. I know that Morgan would have gone several days with low oxygen levels before showing any signs of respiratory distress. And I wouldn't have ever known without the pulse oximeter.

One more thing--if you are considering buying a pulse oximeter, look for one that is recommended for pediatrics. And be sure to read the directions--nothing like taking in your child when you didn't do the oximeter right and their oxygen was just fine. :) It can take some time to get a good, accurate reading on little, wiggly fingers. Make sure you have a good signal and the pulse rate looks correct. I usually try to get a good reading for a minute to make sure the oxygen levels are accurate.

P.S. I still love my pulse oximeter!

5 comments:

Lacey said...

I had no idea Morgan was up there! I guess I've been a little busy too. We have metapnuemo too! Nasty little bugger!

mum2brady said...

Heather - where did you get yours. I wish ALL the time that I had one, or that someone close had one. I think it would be so useful for Brady, since he is a lot like Morgan with the respiratory distress. He has done so much better in recent years - but there have been a few days I wish I had one, just to check....

heather said...

You can buy them online for under $100. Amazon.com has several for sale if you search "pulse oximeters". You can also do a google search "pulse oximeters for sale" and find a few medical suppliers that sell them. I've only needed it 4-5 times for Morgan but so glad I had it when we needed it.

DKAZ said...

When I go in, I'm just going to give them your name and number and say you told me to do it.

Vanessa Shannon said...

This is really good to know! I had no idea I could buy one of these. My son Ian becomes asthmatic when he has a virus and everytime I have taken him to the hospital for retractions and labored breathing his pulse ox was 90% or above...it always made me feel like a paranoid mom! Thanks for sharing the info :) (Im a friend of Adam Ware btw)