can anyone help me with understanding overnight oximetry

Hi all, my wife has emphasema and a recent overnight oximetry result doesn't look good to me but I don't really understand what the terminology means, or how significant the drops in % are.

They are - it showed

a dip rate of 4% of 3 per hour with mean saturation of 94% and time below 90%.

Base line oxygen saturation was 85%.

I should add that I am her sole carer and I am really worried about this latest test result.

7 Replies

  • Thanks for that and I'm off to follow that link.

  • 94% is fine. Dropping below 90% is okay if it is not for too long. 85% is not a very good reading but it would again depend on how long it dropped to this level for. The best way to understand the readings is to ask the medic who ordered the test.

  • Thanks auntymary, at her last visit to the hospital, the consultant said it might be worthwhile repeating this test as she had had one around 14 months previously. He then said he doesn't need to see her anymore as he was transferring her care to the oxygen monitoring team instead. A few days later she recieved a separate appointment from a different thoracic consultant She has been on oxygen overnight for over a year now and in the same results letter he suggested increasing the amount of oxygen and also adding to the length of time she is currently using it. The oxygen was originally prescribed as a treatment for polythysemia which was discovered during a routine pre-op assessment blood test.

    My wife is also having very bad memory problems and sometimes doesn't seem to understand a lot of what is being said. Having said that, there are some delicate questions I need to ask but I can't in front of her.

    She is due to see the oxygen team in 2 weeks time so I will try to ask them if I can.

    Thanks again for your reply,


  • Just a thought Steve, but I have the email address of my oxygen team. If they are heppy to supply this you could then contact them privately.

  • Hi again, I would appreciate that very much. I am trying my best to keep my wife as upbeat as I possibly can, but I am doing that without knowing too much about any signs I should be watching out for to enable me to care for her as well as I possibly can.

    If I can ask someone those questions without having to ask them in front of my wife I can then gently answer them to her if she asks them in the future.

    Thank you again auntymary,

    Kind regards,


  • My relaxed O2 level is 90-92%. Overnight 84-87%. It's been like that for over a year before I changed doctors. Now I will be on 1/2 litre of O2 mainly overnight. Due to start next week. I don't feel any worse for wear though.

  • Hi, my wife feIt a lot better when she went on the 02 immediately, particularly with not only sleeping better, but feeling refreshed as well. I hope you get some benefit from it as well.

    Best wishes,


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