pulse oximeter
Representative photo. Image credit - www.rtmagazine.com

At a time when there are no specific vaccines or medicines for COVID19, a device called pulse oximeter has become the talk of the town.

The battery-powered wireless pulse oximeter – Radius PPG – was launched last year by Masimo and is now set to join the frontline fight against COVID19 as part of the company’s SafetyNet solution.

The demand for pulse oximeter is now on the rise, but why?

According to reports, the Radius PPG is created to enable tetherless monitoring and it can be used as part of the SafetyNet platform to remotely manage COVID19 patients at home and conceivably assist hospitals from being overwhelmed by less severe cases.

A report quoted Masimo’s chief operating officer (COO) Bilal Muhsin as saying: “We didn’t originally develop Radius PPG to combat COVID19.”

Muhsin also said: “We first and foremost developed it so it could monitor hospital patients accurately, even when the patient is moving, without the inconvenience of a wired connection to a monitor.”

“But it turns out that in the current COVID19 crisis this tetherless capability, when paired with a secure, cloud-based telehealth platform accessible from a smartphone for patients and from a web-based dashboard for providers, can provide a valuable way to manage COVID19 patients who do not require hospitalisation,” said the Masimo COO.

“And continue to check them from their homes, allowing hospital beds to be freed up for those who need it,” he added.

Muhsin further said Masimo SafetyNet uses the same Radius PPG tetherless pulse oximeter designed for use in the hospital to provide a remote patient management solution small enough to be worn comfortably and simple enough to be set-up quickly on the patient’s smartphone.

Pulse oximeter can clip onto a finger or earlobe and detect color variations to tell how much oxygen is in the blood.

This device is common in hospitals and doctor’s offices, but consumers are increasingly trying to buy it for home medical kits, alongside thermometers and bandages.

A report quoted Phil Issacson, chief technology officer and executive chairman of Nonin Medical, the Plymouth-based firm that invented the fingertip pulse oximeter more than 20 years ago, said: “The people who have been buying from us in the past are now trying to buy 10 times more. We can’t keep up.”

COVID19 patients are found with lower oxygen rate that’s where pulse oximetry enters the picture, both in the hospital and home.

Pulse oximetry can deliver important COVID19 clues for people even at home.

A typical person’s oxygen-saturation percentage level hovers between the mid-90s and 100.

But readings taken at home showing 85% saturation and dropping can be an early warning sign of COVID19.

A pulse oximeter from the drug store costs around $30 to $50.

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