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HomeAnswersPulmonology (Asthma Doctors)oxygen therapyIs it necessary to check oxygen saturation in a dyspnea patient?

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

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At June 6, 2015
Reviewed AtJanuary 17, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

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


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.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Amol Kumar Wasudeorao Diwan
Dr. Amol Kumar Wasudeorao Diwan

Allergy Specialist

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