The Family

The Family
For Christmas 2010

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Pulse Oximeter

As we've already mentioned, Nathan came home on oxygen.  In addition to the tanks of oxygen we were given at the hospital, our home health company also provided us with a pulse oximeter, like the one seen below.

A pulse oximeter measures the oxygen saturation of a person's blood.  Oxygen saturation, or "sats" as it is commonly referred to, measures the percentage of oxygen-rich hemoglobin in a person's blood.  Hemoglobin is the part of blood that transports oxygen.  It is the number beside the percent sign above.  The pulse oximeter also monitors a person's heart rate, which in the picture above, is the number next to the heart.  It also shows the wave-rate of the person's heartbeat.

You can set alarms on the monitor to go off if either the sat percentage or the heart rate get above a certain number or below another number.  Because of his pulmonary hypertension, we needed to keep Nathan's sat level at 95% or above.  So we set the alarm to go off if the percentage hit 94 or below.  And under directions from Nathan's cardiologist, we set the heart rate alarm to sound if it went above 200 or if it went below 80.

On a side note, we realize that our last few posts have been all about medical mumbo-jumbo and what not, but we felt that it was really important to go over all this stuff, so that you could better understand everything that happened after we got Nathan home from the NICU.

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