The 12th Invest in ME Research Conference June, 2017, Part 2
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Heart rate and oxygen saturation question

Discussion in 'Autonomic, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory' started by Galixie, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. Galixie

    Galixie

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    I have a basic drugstore pulse oximeter. I know my oxygen saturation sometimes falls (it's too intermittent to predict when). I don't bother to check it that often, but I decided to wear it this morning while I did some light exercise of walking on an elliptical machine for ten minutes.

    At first all was good. My O2% was 97 and heart rate 103. Then the O2 began to fall. When it got down to 93, I paused for a moment and let it climb back up to the upper 90's. I did that two or thee times. I wasn't paying too much attention to heart rate because it wasn't too high or anything.

    At one point my O2 fell down to 89% and I realized something that struck me as strange: My heart rate was also falling. It dropped down to 71 (before I paused my exercise).

    From my perspective it seemed like my oxygen dropped first and my heart rate followed. But I could be wrong

    Shouldn't the heart rate increase when O2 drops?

    Does anyone else find that they have weirdly intermittent oxygen saturation problems?

    Just to add to the strangeness of my situation; after pausing for a couple moments, everything normalized and my O2 stayed in the mid to upper 90's for the remainder of my little workout.

    I would welcome any theories on what might be causing the problem.
     
    echobravo likes this.
  2. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years Hoarder of biscuits

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    Is it possible that the 71 heart rate reading was a mistake? Did you try to see if you could get that to happen again? If you continue to exercise, your heart rate should not fall unless you slow down.
     
  3. lnester7

    lnester7 Seven

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    My heart rate goes down when I start with a high rate then walk for bit. This is when the excercise is doing good for me ( so I ahve to be in a restorative mode). I never had my O2 go down.
    Keep monitoring until you know what is normal for you( also my different HR monitors have different lags ). I have learnt to know which each does with time.
     
  4. *GG*

    *GG* Senior Member

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    I think Insurance/Drs would not prescribe you Oxygen unless your reading drops below 88% saturation. FYI

    GG
     
  5. Galixie

    Galixie

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    I can't rule out a device error. The pamphlet that comes with the oximeter says it works best when the person is stationary. I did watch the heart rate fall while I was watching the spO2 fall. My rate had been above 100 and it dropped into the 80's before dropping to 71. The device appeared to be functioning correctly to me.

    It's also possible that I was slowing down as I watched it because my O2 was so quickly dropping. (I don't usually let it fall under 90% before pausing to let it recover.) But we are talking about a time frame of seconds and my heart rate is usually not so quick to respond.

    After both normalized, it didn't happen again for the reminder of the time I was exercising. My O2 remained around 96 to 97% and my heart rate hovered around 115.

    Part of what has been so frustrating about my oxygen saturation problem is that it is so intermittent that it's impossible to get a handle on. For all I know, the slowing heart rate could be an unrelated fluke. But if the two things are related, I would like to know.

    I guess the short answer to your question is: I don't really know, but I don't think it was a mistake.
     
  6. CFS_for_19_years

    CFS_for_19_years Hoarder of biscuits

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    Your hand should be still when taking a heart rate reading because movement can affect the reading. You can always check your pulse by placing your fingers at your throat. Since you were talking about a time frame of seconds I think it was an error.

    It seems to me that the O2 reading isn't affected as much, if at all, by movement. Also, some brands of oximeters don't register a fall in O2 very quickly. The best ones respond to falls in O2 within seconds.
     
  7. Galixie

    Galixie

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    If you were to hold your hand in front of you and look at your fingernails while walking, that is the level of movement occurring in my hand that would have affected the monitor. It's not like I was waving my hand around. The device was probably working just fine. I can't rule out a device error only because anything is possible.

    My oxygen saturation problem was discovered when I was sent to see a cardiologist about a possible irregular heartbeat. My heart seems to be perfectly fine (no irregular heartbeat detected) but, before he sent me on my way, he checked my oxygen saturation percent by having me walk up and down some stairs. It dropped down to 85%. I didn't know that was low until he told me. He ruled out a device error by having one of the nurses repeat the same exercise (her saturation remained normal), then he had me walk down a hallway and my numbers dropped again. I have no idea how long it has been an issue, but it is very intermittent. I have tried to get to the bottom of the problem. I even had an air blood gas test done but, of course, my saturation happened to be normal when that test was done, so no cause was found.

    I saw a pulmonologist once, but it was another case where the scheduled appointment didn't happen at a time when the oxygen saturation problem was occurring. He told me to come back when it was happening. But how do you book an appointment for something unpredictable? ~sigh~

    At any rate, the slowing heart rate is probably not related. Otherwise the cardiologist probably would have noticed it.
     
  8. Galixie

    Galixie

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    I somehow missed this message earlier. The effectiveness of oxygen is entirely dependant on the cause of the low saturation percent. Since the cause of the problem hasn't been/can't be determined, oxygen isn't even an option to consider.

    Before anything else, I would need to know the source of the problem. I may need to take up crystal ball reading to ever get an answer though. :rolleyes:
     
    ahimsa likes this.
  9. Dechi

    Dechi Senior Member

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    When I did my 2-day CPET test, it was shown that when I exercised on the second day, my blood pressure wasn’t rising enough and my heart wasn’t able to beat fast enough to properly oxygenate my blood. I guess this is part of our anomalies. It aslo has to do with dysautonomia and chronotropic incompetence. i have neurally mediated syncope.
     
    Learner1 and ahimsa like this.

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