Battling against silent hypoxia in Covid patients, the health department has decided to use pulse oximeters extensively which can warn in advance about the looming crisis.
Aiming to prevent Covid deaths, the state government is taking measures to identify patients whose condition is deteriorating in the early stage by using pulse oximeters.
Pulse oximeters are medical devices that monitor the level of oxygen in a patient’s blood and alert the healthcare worker if oxygen levels drop below safe levels allowing rapid intervention.
“As of now, we are purchasing 12,000 pulse oximeters,” said health minister Raghu Sharma.
The device measures the SpO2 level, which is also known as the oxygen level in the blood.
“In Covid patients, there is high risk of silent hypoxia, which means deprivation of oxygen in the body. It is quite dangerous as the level of oxygen dips so silently that a patient does not realize that he is progressing towards silent hypoxia. When it goes beyond dangerous levels such as below 90%, it become a medical emergency. So in such cases, the role of pulse oximeters may prove life-saving,” said Dr Balwant Manda, chief medical health officer (Jodhpur).
Despite being the worst-affected Covid district of the state reporting highest number of cases, the mortality rate in Jodhpur is just 1.2%, which is much below than the average state’s mortality rate, which is currently 1.6%.
“We have around 1,200 pulse oximeters, almost half of them we have purchased while rest of them are donated. Our teams check the oxygen saturation of people who are at high risk such as those who are having chronic illnesses of kidney, liver, heart and elderly people. The device has proved beneficial in saving people from progressing towards silent hypoxia,” said Dr Manda.
In some other parts of the state, where doctors have kept asymptomatic patients under home isolation, such patients have been asked to keep pulse oximeter with them at home. “For those asymptomatic patients, who opted for home isolation, we ask them to buy pulse oximeter and a thermometer first, so that they can monitor his temperature and oxygen saturation regularly. Without pulse oximeter, we do not allow home isolation. If the oxygen saturation drops, the patient under home isolation immediately call health officials,” said a health department official in Jaipur.
However, in some areas where a patient cannot afford the cost of buying a pulse oximeter, the health department officials provide them from their side, which the patient has to return so that it will be given to other patients after sanitizing it properly.
SMS Hospital doctors too have pointed out the necessity of monitoring oxygen saturation in Covid patients as increased concentration of cytokine inflammatory markers such as interleukin-6 (IL-6) and IL-10 cause acute respiratory distress syndrome in which the level of oxygen in tissues and cells goes down dangerously and causes hypoxia. – The Economic Times