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Normal Oxygen Saturation Range for People

Updated June 13, 2017

Oxygen saturation is a noninvasive way to measure how much oxygen is moving through the bloodstream. This test is performed by a health care professional or by a person at home.

Normal Level

According to the ninth edition of Mosby's Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference, the normal level of oxygen saturation is equal to or greater than 95 per cent.

Uses

The oxygen saturation test is performed for many reasons, including to assess a person's response to medications and to ensure a person's current oxygen level is adequate. This test is also performed during stress testing and sleep studies.

The Test

Testing for an oxygen saturation level involves placing a pulse oximeter probe on a person's ear or fingertip and generally takes few seconds.

Considerations

People with certain lung conditions, like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), may have a lower "normal" oxygen saturation level. The oxygen saturation goal, according to the American Thoracic Society, is to maintain an oxygen saturation level greater than 90 per cent.

Warning

According to the ninth edition of Mosby's Diagnostic and Laboratory Test Reference, a possible critical oxygen saturation level is equal to or less than 75 per cent.

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About the Author

Since 2008, Jennifer S. Wright has written articles on a variety of topics including parenting concerns, medical conditions and nursing issues. Her articles have appeared in "LPN" magazine as well as on various online publications. An LVN since graduating from Weatherford College in 2005, Wright has taken care of elderly, pediatric and obstetric patients in hospital and home health care settings.