Oximeter

Last Updated: October 29, 2018

Definition - What does Oximeter mean?

An oximeter, also called a pulse oximeter, is a small device used to measure oxygen levels in the blood to determine individual health. Oximeters assess the proportional distribution of oxygenated blood to all the extremities, or limbs, of the body such as the arms and legs. The device attaches to either the ear, finger, or toe, calibrating oxygen-rich blood in direct relation to pulse rate (heartbeat contractions), indicating homeostatic function in the body. The device uses both infrared and red light wavelengths to evaluate the gaseous exchange between oxygen and carbon dioxide in the circulatory system.

WorkplaceTesting explains Oximeter

For many people with cardiopulmonary issues, oximeters are an effective tool for checking and monitoring oxygen levels in the blood on a regular basis. Many independent factors contribute to fluctuating oxygenated blood levels including strenuous activity (i.e. exercise), respiratory condition(s), and recent surgical procedures. Oximeters consist of either a clip-on attachment or probe with a topical adhesive to the applied area, with reported cases of minor skin irritation from repeated use.

Respiratory conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pneumonia, and sleep apnea can induce depleted oxygen levels that may compromise health. Consistent use of an oximeter can help people have autonomous control over their physical limitations at home and work.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) classifies some respiratory diseases as a disability, allowing employees with cardiopulmonary conditions to acquire reasonable accommodations that facilitate job productivity. Oximeter readouts can lend accurate evidence in judging an employee’s physical capacity to execute requisite job duties and tasks. In some instances, employers can introduce modifications to safety policies, for example, frequent rest breaks or air filtration unit systems to mitigate physiological symptoms to the extent it does not impose financial constraints.

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