What is oxygen saturation?

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Oxygen saturation is the fraction of oxygen-saturated hemoglobin relative to total hemoglobin in the blood. This refers to the amount of oxygen that’s in your bloodstream. The body requires a specific amount of oxygen in your blood to function properly. 

How is it measured?

The O2 saturation is measured using a pulse oximeter placed on thepatient’’s finger. Make sure hands have been washed. No long nails or nail polish. Place on index or middle finger, palm facing up. 

Correct O2 Posture: The patient sits quietly not talking or moving, support relaxed straight arm, supported back and feet.

What is normal?

Greater than 93-100 is considered normal 

(100 is the highest it can go; this number is a percentage). 

What if O2 saturation is low?

This is called hypoxemia. This may be asymptomatic, but even when no health concerns are presented by the patient, a low O2 saturation still requires follow-up from an RN.

The patient can experience shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, confusion, blue lips or nails, etc. These all require follow-up by an RN right away. 

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