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Does an oxygen finger monitor/ test identify apnea?

This area is for Sleep Apnea questions and general Sleep Apnea Discussions.

Does an oxygen finger monitor/ test identify apnea?

Postby Michael1 » Fri Mar 17, 2006 11:35 pm

My Dad is 86 and gasps for his breath in his sleep. The Dr. sent out an overnight monitor for him to use one night -- it is a thing that goes on his finger and measures his oxygen level, and records it in a black box, all night long --- 2 days later they have an oxygen machine delivered to Dad's house and tell him to sleep with a small tube at the base of his nose and set the oxygen machine at 2.

No mask, no in hospital test -- does this make sense? (And obviously poor communication from the Dr., he is busy and hasn't returned any calls!)

This is all new to me.

Postby Laggard » Sat Mar 18, 2006 12:00 am

It doesn't sound like a CPAP machine. Are you sure apnea was diagnosed?

Low blood oxygen levels can be caused by several things. You need to find out what he is being treated for and why he's being given oxygen.
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Oxygen supplementation

Postby Moogy » Sat Mar 18, 2006 1:27 am

My dad (89) is also on supplemental oxygen. In his case, it is because he has emphysema and he is missing half a lung from a surgery he had 8 years ago. He sleeps with the little tubes up his nose, and he uses it a lot in the daytime, also. They tested his oxygen the same way, with the little finger monitor.

That type of oxygen delivery does not require a mask. A setting of 2 is pretty normal for many patients, I think.

This does not sound like apnea treatment. At his age, some other cause of low oxygen is just as likely. I agree with Laggard, that it would help if you knew the diagnosis.

Best wishes,
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Postby Jeeper » Sat Mar 18, 2006 8:49 am


Your father is on oxygen therapy for, most likely, lung or heart ailments. The doctor monitored his blood oxygen levels to see how far they fell during the night. Apparently he needed more oxygen than he could obtain from the atmosphere and so an oxygen concentrator was prescribed.

Here is a good website regarding oxygen therapy from the American Lung Association:


I have no idea if your father has apnea. The test for apnea requires much more than a pulse-ox reading.

My mother-in-law and my grandfather were both on oxygen for the several years. I truly wish you and your father the best.
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