Question about Pulse Oximetry

  1. 0
    I have been taking pulse oximetries for the past 2 years now. I have taken O2 sats on patients that are 80 years old in the 95-99 range. For the last two years I have been taking mine, and it has been in the 94-96 range. I don't smoke. I'm overweight (as you know nursing school does this :chuckle ) but can that play a major role in my sats being low? I'm 6'1'' 260lbs. A lot of that weight is still muscle from where I worked out before school started. I've been broke eversince Anyways, I just wanted to know if there are any substantial reasons for my sats constantly remaining in the 94-96 range. It gets me upset to see these 90yo pt's with sats in the 95-99 range and me below that. Oh, I'm also 24yo if that helps.

    Get the hottest topics every week!

    Subscribe to our free Nursing Insights newsletter.

  2. 12 Comments...

  3. 0
    1) atelectasis
    2) possible right to left shunt due to PFO in the setting of pulmonary hypertension due to chronic obstructive sleep apnea due to your weight

    just a few thoughts...
  4. 0
    Is a lot of your weight in your belly are is it spread out proportioned? If you have a lot of stomach weight then that will make you breath shallower than a person without the weight. This could cause atelectasis as Tenesma said. Sit in a chair and hook up the pulse ox and breath very deep breaths for about a minute at about your normal rate. See if you see a change in the readings
  5. 0
    Okay, now I'm freaked out. I never thought I could have atelectasis or chronic obstructive sleep apnea. I wake up like 5 times a night!!! What should I do? Will incentive spirometry help me out any if I have atelectasis. I'm really scared now about this atelectasis thing because whenever I participate in sports I do a lot of pursed lip breathing after a short amount of time. I constantly wake up in the middle of the night so that makes me wonder about chronic obstructive sleep apnea :uhoh21: And yes, I have gained a good amount of weight in my abd area. Good lord, I need a benzo :imbar
  6. 0
    Just ignore this message.
  7. 0
    dustin... everybody is atelectatic to one degree or another, in fact it is very rare to see a sat greater than 97-98 on room air... the more overweight or the more restricted your chest is, the worse it is...

    and yes you could have sleep apnea... with your weight i would bet money on it, but the only true treatment is nocturnal CPAP... speak with your PCP and have them refer you for a sleep study... almost all patients who tolerate CPAP actually report back to me that their life is completely changed for the better, because they now can sleep during the night and be fully energized during the day (compared to before when they would doze off when reading or watching TV or sitting on the couch)...

    incentive spirometry is not going to make a difference for you... unless you do it right before you check your pulse ox....

    and yes you are right, pursed-lip breathing pattern is a sign of chronic obstructive disease - your body is creating an environment where you can have a longer E to I ratio, to assist with blowing off CO2
  8. 0
    Quote from Tenesma
    dustin... everybody is atelectatic to one degree or another, in fact it is very rare to see a sat greater than 97-98 on room air... the more overweight or the more restricted your chest is, the worse it is...

    and yes you could have sleep apnea... with your weight i would bet money on it, but the only true treatment is nocturnal CPAP... speak with your PCP and have them refer you for a sleep study... almost all patients who tolerate CPAP actually report back to me that their life is completely changed for the better, because they now can sleep during the night and be fully energized during the day (compared to before when they would doze off when reading or watching TV or sitting on the couch)...

    incentive spirometry is not going to make a difference for you... unless you do it right before you check your pulse ox....

    and yes you are right, pursed-lip breathing pattern is a sign of chronic obstructive disease - your body is creating an environment where you can have a longer E to I ratio, to assist with blowing off CO2

    Oh my god, you hit me right on the nail when you talked about dozing off when reading, watching TV, or sitting on the couch. That is so me! If I lie down with my med-surg book to read my book and I are taking a nap:chuckle I don't know if I've had this feeling of being energized in quite some time. I really appreciate the advice. I think I will make that appointment to see my PCP. Thanks again Tenesma.

    Also, will my PCP be able to tell if I have atelectasis from a chest x-ray?

    Thanks
  9. 0
    I guess it goes without saying that you should.....um lose the weight.

    Most of us don't use our lungs to their fullest capacity. I've always used deep breating exercises as a form of relaxation.

    Good luck in getting any answers.


    (I've always gotten very sleepy whenever I read med-surg books, or currently the critical care nursing book. Seems to be a natural reaction to me. )
    Last edit by 3rdShiftGuy on Mar 10, '04 : Reason: typos of course :)
  10. 0
    Probably the best thing you can do for yourself is to get yourself in shape. I know you are in school and how hectic things are but you have to take care of yourself too. I really do not think you have anything lung related with you being so young. My bet is that your body has gotten used to breathing shallower than normal due to the weight and that is causing a decrease in oxygen levels which would cause you to be really tired. Try putting a pillow or two under your back and sleeping with your head elevated a little, if it is comfortable, and let gravity help while you sleep. I would ask your pcp about CPAP but I doubt he would want to start you on that being so young unless it is a real problem which he should order a sleep study on you first. Don't sweat or fret, doubtful anything at all to be overly concerned about.
  11. 0
    I would go to your PCP and get your heart and lungs checked esp if you are pursed lip breathing post excercise. There are lots and lots of reasons for a low SaO2 and some are simple i.e. are you wearing black nail polish - ooops - I see you are a guy

    The only person who can really give you answers is your family doctor - good luck!!! And think of it this way - if we can treat your underlying problem then maybe you will be able to get fitter and lose weight. Many sleep apnoea patients have the problem of being tired all the time which predisposes them not to exercise which causes weight gain and which increases apnoea - it can be a vicious cycle.

    Oh! and if you are smoking - definitely give that up.


Nursing Jobs in every specialty and state. Visit today and Create Job Alerts, Manage Your Resume, and Apply for Jobs.

A Big Thank You To Our Sponsors
Top