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hypoxia meter
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Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
hypoxia meter on 07/17/2012 14:51:21 MDT Print View

When the human body is transported to high elevations, ideally the respiration increases to the point of keeping up with the demand. The atmosphere gets thinner, and sometimes the blood oxygen saturation is diminished from (normal) nearly 100% down to 90% or 80%. Eventually, the subject blacks out.

Years ago, a miniature blood oxygen saturation meter cost was about $400, and it slipped onto a fingertip for the optical measurement. I believe that these were used on Mount Everest.

Just the other day in a store, I saw one for $40. Has anybody tried one of these?

Alternatively, we will just have to let the subject black out and then drag him down.

--B.G.--

Christopher Chupka
(FatTexan) - M

Locale: NTX
Hypoxia on 07/17/2012 15:02:18 MDT Print View

Usually when my pulmonary edema sets in I'm vomiting and have a severe headache, so no tester needed for me.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Hypoxia on 07/17/2012 15:05:10 MDT Print View

"Usually when my pulmonary edema sets in I'm vomiting and have a severe headache, so no tester needed for me."

That's usually what happens to me when I get close to the altar......

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Hypoxia on 07/17/2012 15:12:23 MDT Print View

I think we would all like to have a warning _before_ the point of pulmonary edema. For some strange reason, I don't vomit or get a severe headache. If I am pushing really hard, I will get tunnel vision. I thought an electronic gizmo would be neat, and it doesn't weigh much. It might be hard to calibrate to anything.

I have a test card for detecting mental impairment, but it requires one person to check the subject. The gizmo could be used by the subject himself.

--B.G.--

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Hypoxia on 07/17/2012 15:19:46 MDT Print View

It seems that if you have a smartphone, you can use that to measure blood oxygen saturation levels. And from a quick google search and scan of articles, it seems they're quite accurate, or can be.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Hypoxia on 07/17/2012 15:24:23 MDT Print View

I don't carry any smartphone, and it would be much heavier than this little gizmo.

--B.G.--

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Hypoxia on 07/17/2012 15:28:35 MDT Print View

"I don't carry any smartphone, and it would be much heavier than this little gizmo."

Ah, but many people do. So my comment was for those folks who might be interested who do carry smartphones - to know they wouldn't need a separate device.

Karl Gottshalk
(kgottshalk)

Locale: Maine USA
Hypoxia meter on 07/17/2012 15:58:19 MDT Print View

The hypoxia meter/pulse oximeter for $40 generally work well. I did home care nursing for several years and many of my oxygen dependent patients used them. They always correlated well with the more expensive one that I carried. Saturation (SpO2 <90% is considered to be hypoxic.

Karl

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Hypoxia meter on 07/17/2012 17:01:23 MDT Print View

Karl, that seems like good information.

Do you remember about how long it takes to get a measurement?

--B.G.--

Andrew Clark
(datsclark)

Locale: San Francisco
pulse ox on 07/17/2012 17:47:01 MDT Print View

I have a pulse oximeter that I bought for flight. I mostly keep in my flight bag, but it's fun to take on hikes to see what my ox levels are. I believe I have a NONIN from Turner, which i guess is approved for medical use.
I remember when I bought it being told to avoid cheap pulse-ox devices as they arne't accurate, but I'm certainly no expert on why or how they work. But I'm happy with with I got for ~60 bucks. It's really light weight, clips onto a finger, and shows the pulse and oxygen saturation in just a few seconds.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Hypoxia on 07/17/2012 19:25:29 MDT Print View

"The gizmo could be used by the subject himself."

After the other person checks him for mental impairment?

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Hypoxia on 07/17/2012 19:27:39 MDT Print View

"It seems that if you have a smartphone, you can use that to measure blood oxygen saturation levels."

How does that work? I mean, I know phones are getting pretty darn smart, but measuring O2 sat?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Hypoxia on 07/17/2012 19:38:35 MDT Print View

If the subject refuses to use the gizmo, then that might be a sign of mental impairment. If the subject wants to use the gizmo, but can't remember how to work it, then that is a sure sign of mental impairment.

My mental test card requires the tester to be pretty clear, but it will find a subject that is slightly impaired.

I think when a policeman administers a field sobriety test to a suspected drunken driver, they use tests that look more for balance (ataxia) problems.

Blood is either fully saturated with oxygen, or else it is not. The oxygenated hemoglobin is one shade of bright red, and the poorly oxygenated hemoglobin is a much darker color. That is how the gizmo is supposed to work, by differentiating that color. What I don't know is how it develops a baseline reading. I would think that it is different from one subject to another.

Of course, it probably wouldn't work right on Tom, anyway, since olive oil flows in his veins.

--B.G.--

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Hypoxia on 07/17/2012 19:48:18 MDT Print View

"How does that work? I mean, I know phones are getting pretty darn smart, but measuring O2 sat?"

I jumped the gun a bit, seems that the app isn't out yet, but it's been tested and it works, according to the article. It works by you holding your finger against the camera in most smartphones. The camera uses its 'flash' to illuminate your finger, and the app reads changes in your blood and records various things (there are already apps that read your heart rate this way, they work well).

Article that explains the app in development: http://www.wpi.edu/news/20112/kichonapp.html

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hypoxia on 07/17/2012 19:57:29 MDT Print View

"It works by you holding your finger against the camera in most smartphones. The camera uses its 'flash' to illuminate your finger, and the app reads changes in your blood and records various things (there are already apps that read your heart rate this way, they work well)."

A phone that's smarter than me. Now that is depressing. :(

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
Oximeter on 07/17/2012 21:39:04 MDT Print View

$40 is expensive, you can get them for $20.

Lots of old or sick people with decreased pulmonary function use them to let them know when they need to breathe oxygen.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Oximeter on 07/17/2012 22:33:50 MDT Print View

"$40 is expensive, you can get them for $20."

Some of the cheaper ones have very inconsistent reviews.

When at high elevation, I've had some companions who looked a little sick, but they would not admit it. It would be nice to be able to put a number on it.

--B.G.--

Steve C
(stevec5088) - F

Locale: Central Calif
Re: Oximeter on 07/18/2012 01:58:38 MDT Print View

I think people can have a low O2 saturation, but still be ok at altitude. AMS is more complicated than just oxygen level in the blood.

There is a good report on the relationship between O2 saturation and Diamox use on a Kilimanjaro trip report by "Akichow" on WhitneyZone   (link)

Bob G: I remember you from rec.backcountry. Please send me a PM or email.

Edited by stevec5088 on 07/18/2012 02:14:18 MDT.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
How O2 sat monitors work. on 07/18/2012 07:36:50 MDT Print View

The O2 saturation monitors work by shining a light through your finger, usually a laser. Fully oxygenated blood is one color, less than fully oxygenated blood is another color. The meter reads the absorption of the light in those wavelengths, compares them, and spits out a percentage. Since it is only making a RATIO of The two absorptions rather than caring about absolute absorption it doesn't matter how much is lost to fingers of different thicknesses- it works just as well on thick fingers as on thin ones. (And, actually, I think you can make them that use light reflectivity rather than absorption, too.)

But they don't work well through nail polish. Yeah, I'm looking at YOU, Dave. :)

Needless to say, I use them every day. And, an unacclimated person in Colorado Springs probably walks around just fine with an O2 Sat of 94%. It is hard to pick a cutoff for what is clinical hypoxia. By definition it is "clinical" when you have symptoms, not at some specific number. So, frankly, a mini mental status exam is probably more useful in the situation we're talking about. Of course, if someone was loopy and their sat is 98% then you've probably rules out hypoxia as a cause. Check their pack for empty bourbon bottles.

They are fun to play around with, though. And, notwithstanding what I just said, if I found someone with a sat of, say, 70% I would certainly take note...

Edited by acrosome on 07/18/2012 07:39:49 MDT.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: hypoxia meter on 07/18/2012 10:14:05 MDT Print View

does anyone know how O2 saturation levels relate to anemia ?

in other words, do you get the same levels of readings whether or not you are anemic ?