SP02% readings: So when I spoke to the... - Asthma UK communi...

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SP02% readings

floating_ profile image

So when I spoke to the doctor about the nebuliser situation a few weeks (or whatever) ago he mentioned monitoring my SP02%. Now normally mine is around 96-98%, occassionally higher. Usually only goes lower during attacks (e.g. been at 78% before, not uncommon for me to go to 88% and lower when in bad attacks). However, my sats at today have been averaging like 93-94, should I be concerned? I feel fine asthma wise (peak flow this morning was 440, which is actually my PB! Just took it again and it's about 350, took some Ventolin because I feel a bit tight but that's litterally it).

Any ideas on what I should do (if anything) because tbh the doctor didn't say anything excdept if it's below 92% consisitently get help. lol. Is 93-94% fine? Ideally I need to avoid hospital because I'm sick of the place now, want to stay home.

12 Replies

Hi, I recently had covid and was invited to take part in an app trial where SpO2, heart rate and I added peak flow were monitored. Twice daily numbers were submitted through the app and if anything was outside normal parameters I got a phone call. My SpO2 was (and still is between 93-96) consistently low so I got quite a few calls and each time they asked if I felt ok, even readings down to 92, when I said yes they seemed happy, so as long as you feel ok and can function normally I think there is no need to worry. If the numbers are low and you feel poorly seek medical advice.

floating_ profile image
floating_ in reply to Gareth57

Interesting, I did feel okay for the most part yesterday although when I had sorted out the chest tightness feeling my sats went back up to my normal. Perhaps it was just asthma, but then I've never seen thar before, it's not like I was in an attack! Hope you're doing okay!

O2 monitoring in asthma isn't generally advised because in many people the readings can be fine/good even when someone isn't (ie when symptomatic people rely on the readings being ok but the body is compensating and things might not be ok at all).

The other issue is that probes etc can be very unreliable - some devices are just rubbish but often it's because so many factors can affect the readings, eg finger temperature for one. So people can easily get lower readings when they're fine.

I'm sure you know this but 92-96 is usually used for covid but, normally, for asthma it should be 94+. However, it should be used as part of a picture because if you're otherwise well (for you anyway), not symptomatic, good pf etc then my logic and inclination (not medical assessment lol) would be that things are actually ok and that readings of borderline or just under aren't actually accurate. Also there will always be natural variation - a bit like with peak flow where up to 20% variation from our best is normal (ie the green zone!) Not that you'd want to do the same with sats obviously but they will vary a little.

One thought though....maybe the doctor suggested it to build a picture of your normal on terms of sats? In case this is a possibility, maybe keep a record of readings alongside other factors like time of day, PF, symptoms or lack of them, anything else pertinent eg "ran a mile" 😉, "cuddled a big hairy dog"etc. Might help with your other allergy and mast cell stuff maybe?

And of course seek medical advice if you are concerned at all!

floating_ profile image
floating_ in reply to twinkly29

Yeah that's what I thought! Tbh though they sorted themselves out when the chest tightness went away which to me is also odd. Went back up to 97%.

Yeah, he has, I mean I've had a pulse oximeter for years now, and didn't pay a whole lot of attention to the sats part, but given everything going on I think they just want more information? Even in hospital when I've been objectively fine they've gotten low readings (93-94 again). It's like my sats don't always correlate with how I am? It is pretty weird. The oximeter seems pretty accurate for the most part compared to the hospital one, but will keep variables like finger temperature in mind.

Hope you're doing okay!

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to floating_

Well now sats in hosp do my head in! They are so insistent 92-96 is fine. No, it is not for me thanks very much. My cons has said several times mine need to be 94+. But of course when sats are 92/93 no-one cares. Gah!!!

floating_ profile image
floating_ in reply to twinkly29

It is pretty weird! Like actually looking back I've been symptomatic, but not like...super symptomatic when my sats are lower than usual, but that's partly why I say I'm objectively fine. Usually it's like the calm before the storm though (was able to self manage yesterday, thankfully!). I think I'll keep a diary of how I am feeling along with the sats and peak flow so I can show him my findings and see what he says. Barts might be interested too, see them next week! You must get so frustrated that they think it's fine when it's not! How do you manage that in hospital?

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to floating_

I just get cross at them 😂 when I need to.

Often symptomatic but sats fine is normal in asthma and thankfully I don't usually get that bandied as a sole thing (ie sats fine therefore you are). Also, generally speaking, so much can cause breathing symptoms that sats fine can definitely mean asthma fine as it could be other stuff causing the breathing symptoms.

So it's not a case of they're ignoring it but they're wrong.

With me I tend to know if it's an issue.

Wheesy profile image
Wheesy in reply to twinkly29

I have the same problem Oxygen 93 pulse rate 115bbp and they say it is OK and they say that my oxymeter is wrong. So I say "Well it tallies with yours and it was given to me and I was taught by hospital medica how to deterin the results. You can never get through to the ward nurses that if my pulse is over 100 but the oxygen is only 93 that my heart is not getting enough oxygen so it is trying to get it by upping the heart rate. and you still have a tight chest and cough. The repy is I am a trained nurse dont try to tell me my job. I have stopped messing about and say that |I want a doctor to say that | am wrong and 9 times out of 10 they overide the nurse which does not go down very well.

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to Wheesy

It's difficult because 93 might be ok as, for example, one's heart rate might be a bit raised from the stress of not being listened to etc. And different lung conditions can have different safe ranges for oxygen levels.

But it can be hard when they try to pass stuff off as other things when you just want to be heard or understood!

Wheesy profile image
Wheesy in reply to twinkly29

In agree with all of your comments, but the only thing is that I am so laid back I can get under a door and it is very rare that I suffer from stress, but there again I am not normal as the medics have found. {Get rid of there tick boxes and treat the problem in front of them as we are all different}

Blue-Breeze profile image
Blue-Breeze in reply to Wheesy

Tick boxes, oh I hate them with a passion. I'm like hello look at me the none wheezing, fast pulse, tight chested, non conforming asthmatic. Help me!

Both me and my wife laughed and agreed wholw hearted with your comment. I think that I will print this off and the next time that the idiots who think that we are tick box candidates can make a quiz show in the department and see who wins the brand new car.

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