Does Finger Pulse Oximeters Show Accurate Reading?

After the pandemic hit us, we became familiar with some of the medical equipment related to this disease. Pulse oximeters are such equipment which was used by almost every person during the pandemic. This small equipment helps to monitor your oxygen saturation level in the blood which was very important back then because people were closely monitoring their oxygen saturation level to avoid that lethal disease. Now also, we are quite used to that routine. Also, people who have elderly people or sick people at home keep this kind of equipment for health monitoring. Now, the most important question is “Do finger pulse oximeters show accurate reading?” Check out the facts.

Does Finger Pulse Oximeters Show Accurate Reading?

Finger Pulse Oximeters are a common medical equipment which most of us have seen or used. Some keep this article handy at their home for frequent monitoring and some have seen it during medical checkups. But, you might be interested to know if the reading of this equipment is correct or not. 

When your oxygen saturation level in the blood is between 90 to 100%, the results shown by an oximeter are believed to be the most accurate. However, if the oxygen saturation level in the blood decreases, then the accuracy might be affected. The device will struggle to produce the correct situation level in such scenarios. If the saturation level is below 80%, then the accuracy decreases further. 

If we assume the accurate reading of the pulse oximeters, we can say that it can produce results which might vary from 2 to 4% from the actual oxygen saturation level. The better the equipment you use, the least will be the variations in the results. We at Medguard Professional Healthcare Supplies always ask our clients to choose the best oximeters for themselves from our varied product range which ensures a lower level of variations in results which means the most accurate reading. Still, some factors influence the reading of a pulse oximeter. 

What Factors Influence the Results of a Pulse Oximeter?

As we have already mentioned, the result of a finger pulse oximeter might vary from 2 to 4% of the actual oxygen saturation level in the blood. Several factors might influence these variations.

  • Health Conditions

If you have any health condition such as hypoxemia, anemia, lower blood pressure issues, carbon monoxide poisoning etc. the pulse oximeter cannot produce accurate saturation information which might lead to false readings. For example, people suffering from hypoxia have low blood oxygen levels and the machine cannot produce exact results in this case. Similar things apply to patients with anaemia and low BP patients. Pulse oximeters also cannot differentiate between carboxyhemoglobin and oxygenated haemoglobin. That's why it can't work properly for patients suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. People suffering from poor peripheral circulation like peripheral artery disease, diabetes, or cold extremities, cannot get accurate results using the oximeter.

  • Physical Factors

Some physical factors also influence the reading of a pulse oximeter. If you have skin pigmentation issues, your pulse oximeter readings might vary. It is seen that people with dark skin are not getting accurate results using the oximeter because the melanin present in their skin absorbs light which affects the result and vice versa. Also, finger pulse oximeters cannot give exact results when you wear nail polish or you have artificial nails. 

  • User Know-how

Many people still don't know the method of using the pulse oximeter. Due to a lack of knowledge, they can't place the equipment properly resulting in inaccurate readings. A user must know how to put the finger in the oximeter where the finger should cover the sensor completely. You have to make sure that you are following all the necessary instructions of the machine while using it to get the most accurate reading. 

  • Device Quality

The main factor that can influence the accuracy of a finger pulse oximeter is the device quality. You have to make sure that you are using the right quality product. We at Medguard Professional Healthcare Supplies have the best pulse oximeters at budget-friendly prices. Our products are passed through quality control protocols and are extremely user-friendly. We also ensure high quality of our products so that users can get the most accurate results.


From the above discussion, it is evident that using a finger pulse oximeter will not always produce accurate readings. Several factors can influence the reading. So, if you are using this device for your daily health monitoring, it is time that you check if your device is really that competent or not. You can replace your device with a high-quality device and you should also parallely consult your doctor to check if the machine is producing the most accurate results or not. 

Source of This Article: How Can You Keep Your Asthma Problem Under Control?

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