Oxygen Saturation Levels

I wonder if someone can explain/reassure me about this...

I've recently escaped from hospital after my first admission with my asthma on Monday - although I've always had asthma it's only in the last three weeks or so it's got out of control and been described as severe and things spiralled to me needing in-hospital treatment.

Whilst I was in hospital, they kept a check on my blood oxygen levels both with a sensor on my finger and through taking blood gasses (??) from my wrist (got a mega bruise there now) - and it was concerns over my levels that had them keep me in for longer. On oxygen (dependent on the percentage) my oxygen levels were 98-100%, but off oxygen they were stubbornly sat at 92% - and because this didn't change despite the treatment, they discharged me at that level (my peak flows are also low - currently about 70% of where they should be (although they were about 40% when I was admitted so that's an improvement).

The thing is, this has left me really really worried, and I have no explanation - I'm going to try and go and see the GP who had me admitted next week as I think she'll be helpful but not having any answers is leaving me very anxious - what does a low oxygen level mean, does it matter, might it explain why I'm so breathless and feel generally dozy (as in sleepy but not tired)? Is this 'normal' following a severe asthma attack?

3 Replies

  • hiya, hope your feeling much better now :) I'm afraid i cant answer why or what it may do, but my oxy levels are always low on normal air (anywhere from 72%-91%) and have been for the last year or so.

    My cons never mentions anything about them being low so im assuming (or hoping!) that its not too serious. The only thing i do notice when they are quite low is that im much more breathless than usual.

    I'm sure someone will be along with a much more detailed and medical answer soon :)

    Take care x

  • Hi Ratty

    92% is not unusual when your asthma has been bad, it will gradually improve as the inflammation in your lungs settles. It will mean you are more tired but it's not likley to get any worse. I am a respiratory nurse (with asthma myself!) and have a lot of people I look after who have very low oxygen levels (in the 80s) a lot of the time, and manage very well. Try not to worry about it and keep getting better!

  • Hello!

    As the others have said, don't worry too much about it - it can vary from person to person, but also with the state of your asthma.

    As you have been ill, your lungs are still inflamed and may not be absorbing as much oxygen as normal. I, like Nicki, tend to stick in the 80s - I'd be happy with 92%! If you are still worried then go and see your GP or practice nurse.

    Glad you're feeling better!


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