Q: "I am a private pilot age 60 who flies an unpressurized airplane often above 6000 feet. Friends suggest that I get an oximeter so I know when I need supplemental oxygen. (I carry medical oxygen with me, mostly for passengers.) How does this unit work? I thought this was more for accident victims. Thanks." Steve.
Answer: The DIGI O2 Finger Pulse Oximeter operates on 2 AAA batteries. The LED read-out is easily read in bright and dark lighting conditions. The read-out features a brightly lit LED read-out of oxygen saturation (SpO2), pulse rate and perfusion index (or pulse strength). There are alarms both audible and visual for Low Battery, Low SpO2, High Pulse Rate and Low Pulse Rate. The pre-set Alarm Limits: Low SpO2, 90%, Low Pulse Rate: 50bpm andHigh Pulse Rate: 120bpm. Pulse oximeters are used widely in EMS, hospital and clinical settings as well as for home use and aviation.
Oxygen levels can get low for many reasons. For pilots, that insidious killer, carbon monoxide can begin to effect a pilot or passengers at different rates depending upon age, health, etc. CO replaces oxygen in the blood. So checking with an oximeter may prevent catastrophe if someone in the plane complains of being sleepy, etc.
Health problems such as respiratory or cardiac problems also interfere with oxygen absorption.
For pilots who fly over 10,000 feet in unpressurized planes, a pulse oximeter is a must even if supplemental oxygen is being used. Remember as we age, our bodies react differently.
Other choices that are less expensive include the John Bunn DigiOx Finger Pulse Oximeterand the John Bunn OxyCheck Finger Pulse Oximeter Medline oximeters includes the Medline Nonrx Pulse Oximeter, Sport Model, AAA Battery Operated
Thank you for your question.