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Q. For a patient on oxygen therapy,is it necessary to check oxygen saturation all the time?

Answered by
Dr. Amolkumar W. Diwan
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 06, 2015 and last reviewed on: Jan 08, 2019

Hello doctor,

Is it necessary to check oxygen saturation if the patient is on oxygen for shortness of breath?

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Hello,

Welcome to icliniq.com.

As you said that patient needs oxygen for shortness of breath, it is absolutely not required to measure the oxygen saturation all the time.

But, if dyspnea (shortness of breath) is due to COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) that is due to excessive smoking, then controlled oxygen should be delivered by monitoring oxygen saturation through pulse oximetry. The reason behind it is that carbon dioxide is the only source of stimulation for respiration. When a patient is on oxygen and if he gets ready made oxygen from outside the drive of respiration is depressed. Also, uncontrolled oxygen delivery has its own complications.

To monitor response to oxygen given, the only method is to check saturation non-invasively. So, for this type of use, it is not advised to check saturation regularly. But if you require oxygen continuously, then it should be monitored through pulse oximetry.


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