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What Is a Normal Pulse Oximetry Reading?

A pulse oximeter is a medical device that indirectly measures levels of hypoxia. The device senses levels of oxygen saturation in arterial blood using spectral analysis, along with pulse rate. Generally, oximeters are accurate in measuring oxygen saturation between 70 and 100 per cent.

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A pulse oximeter is a medical device that measures levels of blood oxygen saturation, monitors pulse rate and calculates heart rate. It utilises a non-invasive analysis to measure blood oxygen saturation, so no blood samples need to be drawn.


The primary utility of oximeters is to measure blood oxygen levels among newborns, patients with pulmonary disease and surgery patients.


When the body or tissues are deprived of oxygen, it is in a state of hypoxia. Pulse oximeters are accurate in the critical range of 70 and 100 per cent, which alerts physicians to critical states before symptoms can arise.

Normal Pulse Oximetry Readings

Normal blood oxygen saturation readings at or near sea level is between 95 to 100 per cent, as measured by the pulse oximeter. Normal arterial blood flow and calculated heart rate depend on the state and age of the patient (such as newborn or unconscious adult).


Pulse oximeters attach to an external body part, such as a finger or ear lobe, and utilises spectral measurements. Consequently, external conditions such as altitude, temperature and lighting can affect the readings.

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About the Author

Regina Edwards

Regina Edwards has been a freelance writer since 1990. She has penned video scripts, instructional manuals, white papers and abstracts. She has also ghostwritten diabetes journals. Edwards is a scuba instructor and Usui and Karuna Reiki teacher. She holds a Bachelor of Science from Saint Joseph's University.

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