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Tests to Determine Need for Oxygen

Treatment of COPD

Tests to Determine the Need for Oxygen

Your physician will order a test that will indicate what your oxygen level is and help to determine what your oxygen needs are. One or both of these testing methods may be used.


Your oxygen level may be measured as a percentage of oxygen in your blood. This is called oxygen saturation.

Oximetry is one way to measure oxygen saturation in your blood. A small clip is placed on the finger, toe, earlobe, or an infant’s foot. This is a simple, painless way to determine your need for oxygen.          

This test may be done at rest, during sleep or while you are exercising.

Arterial Blood Gas

The arterial blood gas is where blood is taken from an artery (generally taken from the wrist or elbow area). The results can provide more information about how your lungs are working and how your body is responding to decreased levels of oxygen.

© 2005 American Association for Respiratory Care

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