top of page
  • Writer's pictureCalibrate UK

How do you know if your Pulse Oximeters are measuring accurately?

Pulse Oximeters have been commonplace since the 1970s. They are used most often by people with respiratory problems, and also sometimes by athletes and pilots. Clinicians know that these are devices used to detect patient pulse rate and percentage of red blood cells carrying oxygen (blood oxygenation). Public awareness of Pulse Oximeters has grown rapidly since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. They have proven critical in the monitoring of Covid-19 patients where oxygen saturation is low but other symptoms related to the illness are yet to be observed.

The British Lung Foundation states that normal blood oxygen saturation level should be between 95-100% for someone who is healthy. Blood oxygen saturation of below 92% would suggest someone is seriously ill. Therefore Pulse Oximeters have been recommended by some healthcare professionals for home use for personal measurement of oxygen saturation for self-monitoring and early detection of illness which may require medical attention and/or hospitalisation. With the sharp rise in personal ownership of Pulse Oximeters clinicians have stressed that personal measurements taken at home should not be a substitute for clinical advice and consultation, especially for members of clinically vulnerable groups.

When purchasing pulse oximeters we would advise you to choose a reputable manufacturer of medical pulse oximeters. Various fitness trackers and smart watches have pulse oximetry features but these are not a substitute for medical devices. For those who do choose to self-test for blood oxygen saturation, here are some tips for ensuring accurate measurements from Pulse Oximeters:

1) Remove any nail polish, false nails and ensure your hands are clean.

2)Make sure you have been resting for at least 5 minutes before taking your measurement.

3) Rest your hand on your chest at the level of your heart and hold it still.

4) Switch the Pulse Oximeter on and place it on your index finger

5) Keep the Pulse Oximeter in place for at least a minute, or until the readings settle.

6) Record the highest results for pulse rate and oxygen saturation once the readings have not changed for 5 seconds.

Calibrate UK engineers use Optical Pulse Oximetry simulators to calibrate all pulse oximeter devices. If you are concerned with your readings or require annual calibration please contact us for advice. We have a network of engineers throughout the UK and we can arrange Covid safe visits to GP practices, hospitals, clinics and homes. We also operate a return to base service for calibration and repairs.

31 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page