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What is pulse oximetry?

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Pulse oximetry, or pulse ox, is a quick and needle-free test that measures the amount of oxygen in your blood. It shows whether your heart and lungs supply enough to meet your body's needs.

Your doctor can use this test to find out if you need to breathe in extra oxygen through a tube (your doctor may call it supplemental oxygen) or to be treated for a heart or lung problem.

From: What Is Pulse Oximetry? WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES:

American Lung Association: "Pulse Oximetry."

American Society of Hematology: "Blood Basics."

American Thoracic Society: "Pulse Oximetry."

CHOC Children's: "Pulse Oximetry (Pulse Ox)."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Pulse Oximetry."

University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital: "Pulse oximetry."

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on July 11, 2019

SOURCES:

American Lung Association: "Pulse Oximetry."

American Society of Hematology: "Blood Basics."

American Thoracic Society: "Pulse Oximetry."

CHOC Children's: "Pulse Oximetry (Pulse Ox)."

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Pulse Oximetry."

University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital: "Pulse oximetry."

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri on July 11, 2019

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Why do I need a pulse oximetry test?

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