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Why Pulse Oximeters Sold Out During Covid-19 Pandemic

During the Covid 19 Pandemic in New Zealand we all sold out of Pulse Oximeters.

At the time we did not know about the research that had been undertaken in using Pulse Oximeters to monitor and aid decisions about care required for Covid 19 sufferers whether at home or in hospital.

Unlike many other respiratory diseases, COVID-19 can slowly starve the body of oxygen without initially causing much shortness of breath. By the time some patients have trouble breathing or feel pressure in the chest they are already in dire straits.

Hypoxia has surprised many doctors. Some patients are running so low on oxygen, health-care workers would normally expect them to be in shock or incoherent. Instead, they’re awake, calm, and responsive

The diagram in this article uses oxygen saturation measurements from a pulse oximeter to determine when oxygen support is needed.

Click here to view in more detail

Lifebox and the WHO developed a tool with guidance for carers in low-resource settings working with patients with respiratory compromise and suspected or confirmed COVID-19. The tool chart shows that providing supplementary oxygen therapy is recommended if the patients Oxygen readings are below 94%.

The pulse oximeter is simply fitted onto the patients finger for instant oxygen & pulse readings so that the patient can be monitored for decline or improvement in their condition.