What CMS Pulse Oximeters Are Used For


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What CMS Pulse Oximeters Are Used For

  1. 1. What CMS Pulse Oximeters Are Used For
  2. 2. CMS pulse oximeters are medical gadgets that help medical professionals determine, somewhat indirectly, if a patient is getting enough oxygen. The devices clip onto the finger, the earlobes or, in infants, a foot. What they actually measure is the amount of hemoglobin that is fully loaded up with oxygen. In most people, this figure should be at least 95% or more.
  3. 3. The physical principles of how a pulse oximeter works are beyond the scope of this article. It is based on the absorbance of light. By shining light of two different wavelengths into the skin, the instrument can calculate the light absorbance, and hence the concentration of O2 in blood that is circulating in the arteries.
  4. 4. While this is an excellent way of screening sick people from really sick people, a more accurate measurement is obtained by measuring oxygen directly from arterial blood. This is important in places like intensive care units or when a patient is under anesthesia having an operation.
  5. 5. Jamming a needle into an artery, which are by design very thick, is very painful for the patient. Because of this, it is not routinely done unless it is really necessary. The feeling of having a needle pierce into an artery has been compared to having a sharp implement poking directly into a bone.
  6. 6. One of the circumstances where pulse oximetry is employed is during sleep studies. These investigations require an overnight stay in the hospital and are done for the purpose of finding out if someone has a condition called sleep apnea. This is when a person periodically stops breathing during the night. At best, they wake up drowsy and fuzzy-headed. At worst, it is a risk factor for life-threatening conditions like heart attack and stroke.
  7. 7. There are two main types of sleep apnea, obstructive and neurological. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the more common of the two and is also the easiest to treat. Therapies include surgery, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) or prescribing a device that the patient puts in their mouth when they go to bed that helps them to keep their airway open.
  8. 8. Central, or neurological sleep apnea, is less common and harder to treat than OSA. Instead of stopping the breathing process, the brain doesn't attempt it. There is often a serious condition underlying neurological OSA that affects the brain stem. This is the brain area that is responsible for breathing and heart rate. Neurological sleep apnea can happen by itself or in combination with OSA.
  9. 9. Anybody can be diagnosed with either form of sleep apnea. The principal risk factors are age over 40, obesity and being male. This is a particularly heart-breaking condition in young babies, who can sometimes stop breathing for periods as long as 20s. This is frightening for new parents. Fortunately, alarms are available that can sound an alert when the baby has an apnea episode. CMS pulse oximeters may also be purchased for use at home for both adult and child use.
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