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    Good SpO2 fooled in Asthma
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    Skynet01 posted:
    Questions for the masses out there. I've had 5 cases of pneumonia in the past 3 years, 4 times hospitalized. Each time I'm slapped with a pulse oximeter and hover around 96-100 %. Even though I've had both lungs infected with labored breathing . Albuterol doesn't help nor does the nebulizer. So I got to thinking, maybe the sensor is wrong. I read up on how it works and then it hit me. Every time I go to give blood i'm told I have an outrageously high hemoglobin count and that I can not give blood. Well if it have high hemoglobin but poor O2 utilization the oximeter will still state that I am in the clear? Is this hypothesis true? If true how should I present this to my doctors? Just to throw a wrench into the mix, im in the military so it's the military health care system.
    Reply
     
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    specialk118 responded:
    Well the number of times you've had pneumonia dosen't seem normal to me, have they tested your immune system to make sure you don't have an immune deficiecncy? Also what testing have you done to show you have asthma, do you do PFTs or what about a ct scan or cxr. Also when you end up in the hospital, do they do a sputum sample to see what you have going on down three to target the treatment better?

    As for teh pulse ox, in asthma it really dosen't drop much, if you feel that it is wrong you can always ask your doc to send you to the hospital or if y ou're in the ER you can ask for them to do an ABG (chances are they'll look at you like are oyou nuts? but if you feel the pulse ox is wrong then that's teh only real way I can think of to put your mind at ease) however that being said, if your'e really having oxygenation issues, there will be other signs such as some cyanois and confusion will occur.
     
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    kim_rose responded:
    The pulse ox is a tool used instead of putting a needle into your wrist and drawing blood. I have not had it below 96%. I believe that is good because I don't want to be classed as COPD. My body compensates for the lungs being squeezed. It used to be I would breathe shallow and hyperventalate which brings the o2 to 100% but is not getting rid of co2 very well. Now I breathe deep like 'pursed lip' and try to get beyond the squeezing of the chest. It is still labored but air goes in and co2 goes out, and some water and flem. The use of the o2 is mainly to know if you need a ventilator or not. So I am glad you are staying good. The only other way to test your hypothesis is to have them do the old o2 test, the wrist stick, they might as well check your co2, too. If your o2 had dropped to a dangerous level you would have been ventilated by now with or without the meter.

    Peak flow meter is a better indicator for yourself to monitor how you are doing and whether an attack is recovered from. I use mine to climb back to normal after falling and I use my meds continually for several days after dependant upon how severe the attack- to tamp down the inflammation.
     
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    specialk118 responded:
    Actually, they still use the ABG, they use this when they're deciding about putting you on a vent, the pulse ox is generally right, but once it starts to drop, you generally will end up with an ABG, since it also measures CO2 among some other things, so theys till very much use this especially if there is any doubt.
     
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    Bec07 responded:
    Just fyi, blood oxygen has nothing to do with whether or not you have copd.

    Becca
     
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    starion06 responded:
    Measuring your O2 levels when you're having an asthmatic attack isn't the most sensitive way of gauging how severe the attack is, as it tends not to drop until and unless the patient is doing extremely poorly. Patients can also be having great difficulty breathing while their saturation rates remain OK with asthma.

    Spirometry and peak flow are much more accurate at detecting drops in lung function for asthmatics and others with breathing problems.

    Also, asthma generally does not cause reduce saturation rates while COPD does.
     
    avatar
    salvistar responded:
    I had the same problem until I ran into a very smart ER doc once when I had bronchitis. She put me on a portable pulse ox and had me take a walk. Within about 40 ft, my pulse ox had dropped into the 92% range.

    The problem is, you are probably a relatively healthy person, and your body can compensate fairly well when you are resting. Once you start to move around, the ability to compensate decreases and your oxygen level should start to drop and more accurately reflect what you are feeling.

    They should give you a little meter thing....guys help me out here....the one you force a breath into?!?! It's about the length of a paperback book, and plastic but narrower...you force out one quick hard breath and it will tell you your current capacity. If you use it when your feeling okay, it will give you a comparison for when you are having difficulty.

    Good Luck!!!


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