It appears you have not yet Signed Up with our community. To Sign Up for free, please click here....



Lung & Respiratory Disorders / COPD Message Board


Lung & Respiratory Disorders / COPD Board Index


Low Blood Oxygen
Jul 30, 2004
In april of this year, I had a bad case of pneumonia where I went to the hospital for 10 days and was put on oxygen for a time afterwards.

Since then, my life has become fairly more complicated. The problem is that after the pneumonia was long gone, my blood oxygen levels were still dangerously low. When sitting, I'd average between 90-95%, and my doctors were willing to accept that, but whenever I got up to walk, they would drop into the low 80s. I've been on oxygen ever since. I've had two endoscopies to check out my lungs, and they did find a "flap" of tissue that appeared to be blocking my lower left lobe airway, and they plan to remove it, but my doctors seem to think that is not the source of my low blood oxygen. There is also a dark spot on my lower left lobe in my x-ray that has been present for at least a year. They've explained it as a small section of collapsed lung or something similar. They seem to think I've had chronic low pulse oxygen most of my life but nobody seemed to notice before now.


Medical history: Marfan Sydrome, and mitro valve prolapse. I won't go into details of what Marfan's Sydrome is (check out marfan.org) but things that could be affecting my pulmonary problems are a very severe pectus excavatum (only centimeters between my spine and ribs in upper chest), a heart arrythmia, and aortic dialation. I'm 6'1" and 140 lbs. On account of the chest problem, I have 60% lost lung capacity.

My original pulmonary doctor left for another hospital and I was assigned a new one. This is the reason I had two endoscopies: the second doctor didn't seem to like the notes of the original doctor. It's disturbing how different the opinions of the old and new doctors' are. One says the pectus/lung capacity is in no way affecting the oxygen saturation, and another seems to think its playing the main role. Neither seems to know what to do at this point and they're frightening me with proposed surgeries to get a lung tissue sample by going in thro my chest, or maybe a heart catheterization to test o2 levels in each chamber. But they have no guess at all as to whats causing this.

Like I said, I've been living without oxygen my entire life and have felt fine. Yes, I do get winded with strenous exercise, but when just walking around, I feel absolutely fine. But the pulse oximeter says otherwise.

Personal theories: If I'm not feeling weak or out of breath, could the pulse oximeter be false? Could my hearth arrythmia be giving false readings? Why has no doctor noticed this before? My fingers are extremely long, slender, and always cold. Could they be affecting the reading? Could I have some kind of fungal infection thats causing this and is being misdiagnosed?

Maybe I should be posting on a marfan's related board, but somehow I don't think Marfan's is causing this. Apologies for the long post, any help/suggestions VERY appreciated, nervous and not sure where to turn at this point. Thanks, -Steve
[QUOTE=revsteban]Personal theories: If I'm not feeling weak or out of breath, could the pulse oximeter be false? Could my hearth arrythmia be giving false readings? Why has no doctor noticed this before? My fingers are extremely long, slender, and always cold. Could they be affecting the reading? Could I have some kind of fungal infection thats causing this and is being misdiagnosed? [/QUOTE]

The pulse oximeters could very well be false. They are definitely not the best way of getting an accurate blood oxygen reading. Cold hands will also affect it. My doctor once had me clap my hands together to get the blood flowing through better and my pulse ox improved by about 7%. There are also times where the pulse oximeter will be completely out of whack (one time, mine said my o2 saturation was 58% with a heart rate of 244! haha!) My suggestions would be:
- Ask the doctor to use a pediatric pulse oximeter if at all possible. These are smaller and may be more accurate.
- If a ped. pulse oximeter isn't available, ask the doc to clip the pulse oximeter to your earlobe. I know this sounds odd, but it's given me better readings.
- If they really, really need an accurate o2 reading, they could do an arterial blood gas, but don't ask about this unless it's absolutely necessary. They draw blood to do that and it's really painful and will often lead to some crazy bruising on your arm.

You could also have had low oxygen levels your whole life and gotten used to it, especially since you have known heart problems. Posting this question on a Marfan's board may yield more responses. I'm sorry I couldn't provide you with more answers.





All times are GMT -7. The time now is 04:22 AM.



Site owned and operated by HealthBoards.comô
Terms of Use © 1998-2017 HealthBoards.comô All rights reserved.
Do not copy or redistribute in any form!