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Exercise oximetry test

An exercise oximetry test is a non-invasive (without a needle) technique in which we can roughly determine the amount of oxygen that is in your blood.

The therapist will make note of your resting oxygen level and then ask you to walk at your normal pace to evaluate the response of oxygen in your blood to an increased activity level.

Does it hurt?
No. A small clip is placed on a finger and an infrared light source is used to determine the approximate amount of oxygen that is in your hemoglobin. The clip is attached to a machine and it will display the oxygen saturation and the pulse rate.

How long does the test take?
Anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. If the therapist discovers that the oxygen level drops significantly during exercise then you may be given oxygen through a nasal cannula (a small oxygen tube that sits under your nose) and asked to walk again.

Why did my doctor send me for this test?
 
There are several different reasons your doctor could have sent you for this test:
  • You have been complaining of shortness of breath;
  • You have complained that you can no longer walk very far without having to stop and catch your breath;
  • To help determine if in home oxygen therapy is needed;
  • To determine if you are receiving the correct flow of oxygen from your home oxygen equipment; and
  • You need to be re-qualified for your home oxygen therapy.

How do I prepare for this test?
Generally there is no preparation for this test. It is recommended that you remove your nail polish before the test.

How will my doctor get the results?
A respirologist will interpret all exercise oximetry tests performed in the special testing unit at GRH’s KW Site. (A respirologist is a doctor who is specially trained in lung disorders.) Then a report is typed up and sent out to your doctor.
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