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Oxygen saturation is a term referring to the concentration of oxygen in the blood. The human body requires and regulates a very precise and specific balance of oxygen in the blood. Normal blood oxygen levels in humans are considered 95-100 percent. If the level is below 90 percent, it is considered low resulting in hypoxemia. Blood oxygen levels below 80 percent may compromise organ function, such as the brain and heart, and should be promptly addressed. Continued low oxygen levels may lead to respiratory or cardiac arrest. Oxygen therapy may be used to assist in raising blood oxygen levels. Oxygenation occurs when oxygen molecules enter the tissues of the body. For example, blood is oxygenated in the lungs, where oxygen molecules travel from the air and into the blood. Oxygenation is commonly used to refer to medical oxygen saturation. Oxygen saturation refers to the extent to which hemoglobin is saturated with oxygen. Hemoglobin is an element in the blood that binds with oxygen to carry it through the bloodstream to the organs, tissues and cells of the body. Oxygen saturation levels, usually measured through pulse oximetry, are normally 95-100%. In patients with COPD, however, oxygen saturation levels tend to drop below normal, especially when they're exerting themselves. This is due to chronically low levels of oxygen in the blood, otherwise known as hypoxemia. A drop in oxygen saturation levels is called desaturation.
When oxygen saturation levels drop below a certain level as determined by your doctor, further testing should be done to determine the need for supplemental oxygen. In medicine, oxygen saturation (SO2), commonly referred to as "sats", measures the percentage of hemoglobin binding sites in the bloodstream occupied by oxygen. At low partial pressures of oxygen, most hemoglobin is deoxygenated. At around 90% (the value varies according to the clinical context) oxygen saturation increases according to an oxygen-hemoglobin dissociation curve and approaches 100% at partial oxygen pressures of >10 kPa. A pulse oximeter relies on the light absorption characteristics of saturated hemoglobin to give an indication of oxygen saturation.
Healthy individuals at sea level usually exhibit oxygen saturation values between 96% and 99%, and should be above 94%. At 5,280 feet altitude (one mile high) oxygen saturation should be above 92%. An SaO2 (arterial oxygen saturation) value below 90% causes hypoxemia (which can also be caused by anemia). Hypoxemia due to low SaO is indicated by cyanosis, but oxygen saturation does not directly reflect tissue oxygenation. The affinity of hemoglobin to oxygen may impair or enhance oxygen release at the tissue level. Oxygen is more readily released to the tissues (i.e., hemoglobin has a lower affinity for oxygen) when pH is decreased, body temperature is increased, arterial partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PaCO2) is increased, and 2,3-DPG levels (a byproduct of glucose metabolism also found in stored blood products) are increased. When the hemoglobin has greater affinity for oxygen, less is available to the tissues. Conditions such as increased pH, decreased temperature, decreased PaCO2, and decreased 2,3-DPG will increase oxygen binding to the hemoglobin and limit its release to the tissue. List of major oxygen saturation and related Conferences
• International Conference on Significant Advances in Biomedical Engineering
• EMBC - Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society
• NEBEC - IEEE Annual Northeast Bioengineering Conference
• I2MTC - IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Technology Conference
• Oxygen Radicals (GRS) Gordon-Merck Research Seminar
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This page was last updated on 07th Oct, 2014
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