SATS at 99%?: checked on 2 oximeters... - Lung Conditions C...

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SATS at 99%?

Gary56 profile image
32 Replies

checked on 2 oximeters, how can I have severe Emphysema and Sats so high?

32 Replies
O2Trees profile image

Hi Gary, I would say that is unusual but this happened to me a week or so ago. Im severe, late stage 3, with resting sats of 94, and on 1 lpm ambulatory oxygen for exertion which I only need for walking outdoors. So I had been doing exercises and a weights workout without using my oxygen and when I had finished i checked my O2 after about 5 minutes and it was 99%. It stayed there for quite a while before returning to my usual resting 94%. And I too checked it on two oximeters!

But I dont know if you are saying yours is at 99% all the time, or if it was a one-off. If the latter, then had you been exercising? Exercise can raise your oxygen levels. But if you are 99% all the time and you DO have severe emphysema, then you are doing remarkably well :) :)

tomc profile image
tomc in reply to O2Trees

I questioned mine as well.

It fluctuates all the time often going down to 112/ 89% and then rising to 94-92 % 02.

I have been told I am running on 40% which makes me severe Emphysema.

Just keep looking after yourself .. Diet exercise and take you medication when prescribed. You'll be fine just don`t ponder over it to much.

Gary56 profile image
Gary56 in reply to O2Trees

it happens occasionally, but strangely heart rate stays low, this time 61bpm.

I was struggling to walk from the kitchen.

It’s really weird. 2 years ago, while visiting my consultant finger pulse oximetry was at 97, but vbg it was 89%.

It confuses me because at the time I tested at 99% I felt like I was walking through treacle, a real struggle.

O2Trees profile image

Ah - when I go to 98% or 99% my heart rate is going ten to the dozen, I suppose pumping the blood round my body. So our situations are not parallel.

Im sorry its so hard for you. Do you have a respiratory nurse? They are often more useful than GPs, or sometimes even than respiratory consultants. I honestly dont have any suggestions (and of course we are not allowed to diagnose, but I couldnt anyway!). It is unusual and I think you are entitled to want answers. You could try phoning the forum helpline and asking their nurse advisors what they think.

knitter profile image

I often find myself very breathless and yet my Sats are high .

Once sat in the back of an ambulance really struggling , but the paramedic said my oxygen levels were good .

Gary56 profile image
Gary56 in reply to knitter

it’s confusing isn’t it, one thing disagreeing with the other. Can be depressing sometimes

Danielmystar profile image
Danielmystar in reply to knitter

Hi knitter just thought I'd let you know I've not had any reply off Damien and Jack which seems strange

Izb1 profile image
Izb1 in reply to Danielmystar

Very worrying, please let us know if you hear anything x

Danielmystar profile image
Danielmystar in reply to Izb1

Yes its very worrying but if I hear anything I will let you know

Izb1 profile image
Izb1 in reply to Danielmystar

Thank you x

Vicki1234 profile image
Vicki1234 in reply to knitter

I have emphysema and same happened to me recently, but I was at ER in the hospital. One of the doctors wanted to admit me and a second one said "no" because my 02 was good. I told them oxygen wasn't the problem. The problem was I couldn't breathe! It felt more like an obstruction or restriction. Finally admitted me for overnight for observation then released me next morning with nebulizer solutions and inhalers... which I already had at home and had not helped, which is WHY I went to the emergency room!

Danielmystar profile image

I'm also sever stage 4 my sats around 95 but at times 97 I'm not on oxygen yet but I'm on Trimbow inhaler

Gary56 profile image
Gary56 in reply to Danielmystar

that’s good to know, I’m not the only one with SATs that don’t seem to match the severity. I’m on trelegy and uniphyllin and folic acid, citalopram, omeprazole for comorbidies.

Injecter1 profile image
Injecter1 in reply to Gary56

can I ask you why you are taking Folic Acid?

Ern007 profile image
Ern007 in reply to Injecter1

Hi, I know you was asking Gary - I get put on Folic Acid as it treats "folate deficiency anaemia." to do with red cells.

Injecter1 profile image
Injecter1 in reply to Ern007

Hi…. I wondered if the folic acid was specifically prescribed to help your lung function. I have read somewhere that research has shown an improvement after taking it!

Ern007 profile image
Ern007 in reply to Injecter1

I was given Folic Acid being a B Vitamin to help me Red Blood Cell Count, it was never prescribed to me for my breathing, not to say that never happens.

I did look it up and there was a study in Japan to see if Folic Acid would help breathing, I am no expert but I think if it's prescribed in UK for breathing, that would not be the norm...

This may help

Injecter1 profile image
Injecter1 in reply to Ern007

Yes I think your right.

Gary56 profile image
Gary56 in reply to Injecter1

as Ern said, it’s for folate deficiency anaemia 👍

JJ_7 profile image

I also have severe Emphysma . After excercise it goes to 97 then back to my normal resting score of 94/5.

KC2222 profile image

Hi,I have severe emphysema. In hospital last year and consultant said oxygen,that I was on does not help breathlessness, just ensures body organs are protected when sats low.

On the ward if anyones breathing got really bad they were given some sort of morphine thing

Tykelady profile image
Tykelady in reply to KC2222

That's what I was told. My levels are considered OK if they are between 89-92 resting with a drop to low80s or even into 70s on exertion yet I have never been told the severity of my condition. I have been told that I can adjust my own oxygen flow up to 4 if I feel I need to.

Biker88 profile image
Biker88 in reply to KC2222

I’m not on oxygen and get very breathless so I mentioned to my consultant about oxygen, he explained that breathlessness is not caused by oxygen level, it’s due to the chest muscles working faster when the body thinks it needs more oxygen. A standard treatment for breathlessness (due to COPD ) is Oramorph (liquid morphine) the dose is very low so it’s not addictive and does not affect one’s ability to drive. It relaxes the chest muscles to slow them down and it is helping me.

SparkySW123 profile image
SparkySW123 in reply to Biker88

Biker88, I'm in exactly the same postion as yourself although I'm on oxygen 24/7 at the moment. I find Oromorph really helpful in slowing down my breathing.

Karenanne61 profile image
Karenanne61 in reply to Biker88

I'm allergic to morphine so take oxycodone for breathlessness and find it helps.

Lizadam profile image

The oxymeter can't often tell the difference between too much co2 and o2 if you're stats are always high on excertion maybe ask for a gas exchange test.

casey16gatsby profile image

There might not be a connection, but check with your Dr. to see if you are retaining CO 2. My stats. used to be high at times before my Double Lung Transplant -- but I was short of breath due to this retention issue. Best of luck

Timberman profile image

(I am severe stage 4 at 30% FEV1 using O2 at 1litre per minute 15 hours a day and ambulatory).

So, 99 is unusual but oximeters have an error range (dependant on price!) so it could be as much as 3 or even 4% out. But you know I think you will find there is no specific link between the amount of oxygen our lungs deliver to the blood and the saturation level at the periphery.

Those little alveoli in our lungs when perfect deliver more oxygen than we need for ordinary life activities - sitting, talking, reading, eating. This is when normal people breath slower and shallower. If we start walking we need more oxygen and breath deeper and faster. Run for a bus and we really start functioning hard. In effect we have a lot more 'access' to oxygen than we need when fit and healthy and so can 'fight or flight' as needed.

But cometh the COPD and it all changes. Now you and me (at 30%FEV1 I would guess) only have enough and can only draw in enough for very low levels of activity. Once we start walking we use up oxygen fast and our peripheral stats start to fall. As they do we start to breath faster and eventually become breathless. Time to take back control. Stop what you are trying to do and get into breath control mode.

Your sats will now be in the low 80s (even 70s!) but, with rest and control you can be back up in the safe zone in minutes or less. If not, its 111, or even 999.

But that will be rare and probably indicate an infection of some sort.

I have just been down the slippery slope and am now on doxycycline having at last got a look at my mucus (I have bronchiectasis so it can be hard to bring up) and realised I have an infection. It is slowly clearing.

Depending on the nature of your COPD exercise can be a big help - for many people it can actually raise the sats level! Sadly for me it sends it crashing! They won't even accept me for PRC now!

Nettynonails profile image

Emphysema is holes in the lungs but it doesn't necessarily mean your oxygen levels are low. Its the amount of oxygen your lungs produces in the blood what gives you the readings

Ern007 profile image

Hi Gary - Oximeters are strange at times - I have COPD, an Asthma score of 14 and scaring on lungs. I often get 95 to 97 - but the odd time as low as 80 before returning to 94. I do overnight tests and my says go down to the low 80's before recovering. Why yours is 99% with severe COPD I don't know and with my lungs, not sure why I average 94.

I have noticed my normal low heart rate can rise, when my 02 is low, compensating I think. remarkable yours is 99% with severe COPD, keep well eat well and long may it last.

Bluebelle2017 profile image

I am exactly the same. I have severe emphysema yet my oxygen levels are always 96 to 99%.I get very breathless and can't walk the length of my bungalow without getting breathless, yet when I talked to the consultant or doctors or respiratory nurses about being so breathless and fatigued they just say ' your o2 levels are ok so you must be ok !!! And don't seem to take it seriously.

I only take Trimbow inhaler as Ventolin just makes my breathing worse.

Very annoying.

Yeo58 profile image

I did query this with respiratory nurse, my O2 generally around 99% but I get very breathless. She explained the breathlessness is caused by the narrowing of the airway, the oximeter measures levels in the body……….not sure this fully explains it though 🤔🤔

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