What is a

Pulse Oximeter?

What does a Pulse Oximeter do?

Pulse oximeters are small, portable devices that measure light absorption in the finger to noninvasively monitor oxygen saturation and pulse rate. They are painless in their operation, attaching to a fingertip with a gentle squeeze that is generally tolerated by patients of every age. They render results within seconds, making them a valuable tool in monitoring numerous health conditions - as well as overall health.

Fingertip versions of the device are being increasingly used for general wellness and health applications including sports, fitness, and relaxation management. They are also being used in more home care settings, owing to their ease of use and the reliability of their readings.

How Does It work?

It works by passing two wavelengths of light through a patient’s finger to gain information. These lights are undetectable to the patient; they cannot be felt and have no appreciable temperature. This noninvasive assessment style makes it a perfect tool for both professional medical settings and the home care setting, where it is being increasingly implemented.

The primary reading that a pulse oximeter is used to find - aside from your actual pulse rate - is your SpO2, or blood oxygen saturation level. This reading estimates the concentration of oxygen in your blood. 95% or more is typically considered a healthy Sp02 reading. 92% or less means your blood is not well saturated.

Challenges With Other Fingertip Pulse Oximeters

Multiple companies have introduced low-priced, battery-powered “fingertip” pulse oximeters to the consumer market. In some circumstances, these products may provide inaccurate measurements or no measurements at all. This often occurs when there is low blood flow to the finger (such as when the fingers are cold) or during hand movement (even with minimal motion such as shaking).

In addition, many of the products on the market are of low quality and do not interface with smartphones to store, manage, and share data.

See the Proof for Yourself

Use Cases

Masimo - The Leader in Pulse Oximetry


Masimo is a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: MASI) based in Irvine, California. Masimo is the leading brand of hospital pulse oximetersReference1 because they provide accurate measurements when other pulse oximeters fail by using a revolutionary Signal Extraction Technology® open paren (SET®)close paren. Masimo SET® uses five parallel signal processing engines that measure through challenging conditions, including movement and low blood flow. With MightySat, the same high-performing Masimo SET® technology is now available for general wellness and health applications.


Reference 1 iData Research. U.S. Market for Patient Monitoring Equipment. 2014.

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