Pulmonary Embolism Support Group

By far the most common form of pulmonary embolism is a thromboembolism, which occurs when a blood clot, generally a venous thrombus, becomes dislodged from its site of formation and embolizes to the arterial blood supply of one of the lungs. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, pain during breathing, and more rarely circulatory instability and death.

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Pulse Oximeter

Hi gang...just had a quick question about the Pulse Oximeters and what exatly they mean. Technically I understand that it is a read out of how much oxygen is carried in your blood. I guess I am asking how much to read into a safe reading. I am 19 days from my PE diagnosis. Labor Day (9/7) was the day I went to the hosipital and I only went because I was having sever calf pain and recently had rotator cuff surgery on August 5th. My Shoulder doc told me before the surgery that I was at a small risk for blood clots, so remembering that, I went to the ER when my calf would not quit hurting. Ultrasound and CT Scan later they tell me I have two clots in my calf and multiple clots in my lungs. At that time I was having no shortness of breath and no chest pain. Calf pain and swollen left leg - tha's it. I would say the anxiety has been one of the toughest things to deal with - I have had a few panic attacks and also at times felt like I could not take big, deep breaths. So I bought a Pulse Oximeter of Amazon and everytime I think my breathing is weird, I use it. So far every reading has been at 97 or higher. Pulse is usually in low 70's. So I figure everything is ok. Last night I had a little pain, not much, in my right chest area on a deep breath/yawn. Happened a couple times and while I noticed it, it did not really scare me, as I have read that chest discomfort is common with blood clots in the lungs. Even after the chest discomfort, I used the pulse oximeter and it read 98% and I felt better.

I guess my question is two fold. First, if I had no shortness of breath or chest discomfort at all during the past 2 and a half weeks and had a little this past weekend, is it safe to assume that is normal? One Note: My calf pain has all but gone away. My leg is stil slightly swollen but almost no pain in the calf at all. Is that a good thing?

Secondly, if I feel a quirky, breathing or chest discomfort, but my pulse oximeter says I'm in the 95-100% range, is it safe to assume that everything is ok and that anxiety might be rearing it's ugly head again? I would hate to feel a little chest discomfort and go running to the ER. My three day hospital bill that was submitted to my insurance was $16,500. Yikes! I am not sure what portion of that will be mine, but I am sure some of it will be.

Thanks for any insight. This site is invaluable.




I'd say it's more that you are on coumadin plus the 95 plus reading that shows you are fine.

I can only relate my experience, but the morning of the day I went into the ER with pain (and they found the PEs), I was tested at 98% during a pulse ox walk (walk around the pulmonologist's office hooked to the pulse oximeter), that's one of the reasons they didn't key in on PEs. So the pulse ox is good, and I used one after my PEs as well, but I think the coumadin is keeping you safe right now.

I think chest pain is a pretty common occurrence.

Apparently my PE progressed through the course of two months before I landed in the hospital with severe SOB. By the time they put on the finger oximeter, after I had already regained breath, O2 saturation was at 87 per cent. It may have been down in the 70s while walking in from the parking lot. I do not recall where BP and HR were but they were both sky-high while the heart was trying to get scarce O2 going around.
They told me at the hospital that emphysemics, for example, stay in the 70s chronically and they are always SOB.
PE responds quickly to treatment. I recovered to the 90s consistently within 24 hours as HR and BP calmed as well. I have thought of getting one of those oximeters but never did. One of my ill relatives had one and I used it a week ago, finding O2 at 97 pct or better. Knowing that severe problems would likely cause O2 to drop I would have much better confidence knowing the level is normal or near normal.

Usually in the hospital we don't start getting worried about the low o2 readings until they get below 90%, If we can't get the o2 saturation's back up above 90% that's when we usually start oxygen. The finger Spa02 or finger oximeters are nice however the Pulse isn't always 100% accurate so don't always rely on that reading. It's always better to double check your pulse manually after getting a reading off the finger pulse Oximeter especially if it is exceedingly high

Ditto Ferr and those finger pulsoxs are mighty cheap now a days! Blessings, Teri

Not cool to try to sell/promote your own products here.
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