British Lung Foundation
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Oxygen for low Sats ?

When I was in the hospital recently they put me on a nebuliser for about 10 minutes to increase my Sats from about 84% to about 96%. As soon as it was taken off they went down again. I don't need extra oxygen to help me breathe as such but really need it for the Sats. I now have a new doctor and wonder what the best thing is to use to keep the Sats up so I can ask him about it. Forewarned is forearmed I say !

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17 Replies

If your sats are that low you need tests done e.g oximeter, blood gases To be honest if they are 85 when resting what are they further dropping down to when you are up and about? I know if mine are down to 85 I wouldn't be moving around very much Val

The nebuliser used in the hospital also had oxygen in it which was what made my Sats normal. As soon as it was stopped, after 10 minutes, the Sats went back down again to where they are now and most of the time which is 84%. Alas, I can't return to normal readings without oxygen. They told me to have a word with my doctor about it. Just got in from the shops and read it straight away before resting and it was 79% which went up fairly quick to 84% which it will now settle at.

I could do with a trained or knowledgeable persons outlook.

Yes do mention it to your doc or consultant get it checked out Val

Your Sats should not drop below 88 on a regular basis. You are damaging your heart, brain and other organs by doing so. I don't understand how a hospital could send you home without a prescription for oxygen with those numbers. No wonder so many die from COPD. It's the lack of care that's killing people more than the disease itself. More COPD patients die from Congestive heart failure and pulmonary hypertension than from their COPD.

this is the problem, i've just got him a doctor's appointment for this morning and said he had been in hospital with low sats etc, the receptionist told me it was the hospital who should refer for oxygen, but when he left hospital the doctor there told him to talk to his gp about oxygen.

so i'm none the wiser,will see what gp says anyway.

What a difference ! The GP said he'd refer me to a lung specialist to determine whether I need supplementary oxygen or not. He is also going to arrange about pulmonary rehab for me. 10 minutes with the new GP compared with months with the other one who got nothing done unless I asked. Even then I'd be lucky if he took any notice.

the new gp also allowed me in and answered several questions i had, which i have not had an answer to since this started over a year ago, so i'm happy as well, and it looks like he is being referred where he needs to be now and so things are looking better.I just can't believe he's been left so long without help or answers though.

i'm trying to think what else the gp did - he also went through his medicine and checked we knew what each did, then prescribed another medication to try to relieve the build up of mucus, he checked his chest with a stethoscope.he said there was a little infection left but didn't think at the moment another course of antibiotics was needed as he hasn't finished the doxycycline.

he was very thorough and adressed everything we asked, and explained everything he was saying.

just like a doctor should do!!!!!!!!!!!!..

Yes, redshoes and stitch, it is very good news.To be honest, I think some of the depression and anger (frustration) he has been feeling, and to some extent my own "depression" at the situation was down to the feeling that we couldn't get any answers.Even very basic questions such as what does such and such a medication do?We've had to feel our way and look online, its only now we are beginning to understand better, i would definately say to anyone, change doctor if you can't get answers.although i appreciate easier said than done which is why we held on so long as well.

Thanks for the heads up on that, a lot to look at via the links.

You may not believe this but tonight for the first time in over a year, I've seen flashes of his old self, and he has been laughing.We walked for about a mile, with two fairly long stops, thats the furthest he's walked in months.Only last week he coldn't walk two steps without panting for breath, and I really think he was sinking into a deep depression.He was snappy and miserable.I hope this feelgood phase lasts.I'm sure this is down to finally getting antibiotics at the hospital, i think he has had an infection for a couple of weeks before that but his doctor wouldn't test for it.

It really is so frustrating knowing that low sats are doing us harm, and yet we are not referred for oxygen. I have had the same problem. Exercise, out walking for example and my sats will drop rapidly to about 84%. I have seen them during my exercise routine drop to 79%. Yet I have never been referred. It was only a question to our respiratory nurse at Breathe easy asking if I was getting dangerously low sats, that enabled me to get referred for oxygen when I am exercising. I have not yet had the appointment, but I know it is coming. From my understanding anything lower than 88% should set off alarm bells. It seems that in many cases we may have to insist on getting proper assessment. And if like me you get low sats in the mid 80's and below. It may in the end save your life. Of interest is that in the usa, if your sats are lower than 90 you are given O2.

good luck with your appointment, and it is interesting what you say about patients in the USA. I really thin there is some training that gp's need on the subject, they don't seem very sure as to who is responsible.

I enjoyed the walk yesterday evening and was totally surprised !! I got to the corner of our road, about 100 yards, and still felt ok. The only reason we stopped was to buy our takeaway ! Why and how I walked that far without too much of a problem ( A bit puffy but that was all ) I do not understand as two days before I couldn't walk more than 3 or 4 steps without having to stop and gasp for some air. Here's hoping it don't go back to the way it's been...

and your sats were 79 when you tested it, when we came in.(mine were 98, as they always are) There really seems sometimes to be no logic to this illness.

Hi im sorry I dont have any response to the above but Im wondering what sats are and if the medical provider always gives a test for it? If so wat is the test as ive never heard this mentioned before.

hi hypercat and TheOtherDragen.

Sats mean your oxygen saturation levels ie. the amount of oxygen which

enters your lungs when breathing in. You should always get your oxygen

saturation level checked on a visit to your gp or your practice nurse. You

are asked to put your finger in the gadget provided and the machine

measures both your oxygen levels and your heart rate. The first oxygen

reading may be high eg 95 to 97, but if you exercise this varies from time

to time, for instance if you have an infection or exacerbation. When you

are unwell or take exercise your sats drop and the cut off point is around

88. If this continues to be low, your GP should refer you to a consultant.

Oxygen therapy is now provided by private companies working for the nhs

You should also be aware that oxygen therapy has very little to do with

your lung function ie: how good your lungs are working. Oxygen therapy

is given to help your vital organs from packing up and to ensure your red

blood cells carry the oxygen around your body to your brain, liver,

kidneys etc. My lung function is extremely low as I have emphysema from

smoking. But I do not need oxygen therapy as my sats are still high.

Hope this info helps you to understand. If your medical provider has not

got a sats testing machine, complain to the powers that be, they only cost

£500 for a good one.


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