Table of Contents
What is the oxygen level test?
Blood oxygen testing, also known as blood gas analysis, measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. When you breathe, your lungs absorb oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. If there is an imbalance in the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in your blood, it could mean that your lungs are not working properly.
Blood oxygen testing also checks the balance of acids and bases, known as the pH balance, in the blood. Having too much or too little acid in the blood can mean problems with your lungs or kidneys.
Other names: blood test, blood vessels, ABG, blood gas analysis, oxygen saturation test
What is it used for?
An oxygen level test is used to check how well your lungs are working and to measure the acid-base balance in your blood. Tests usually include the following ratings:
O2CT content. This measures the amount of oxygen in the blood.
O2Sat. This measures the amount of hemoglobin in your blood. Hemoglobin is a protein in your red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to your entire body.
The partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2). This measures the pressure of dissolved oxygen in the blood. It helps to show how well the oxygen flows from your lungs to your bloodstream.
The partial pressure of carbon dioxide (PaCO2). This measures the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood.
pH. This balances the balance of acids and bases in the blood.
Why do I need a blood oxygen level test?
There are many reasons why this test was ordered. You may need a blood oxygen level test if you:
You have trouble breathing
Have more frequent nausea and/or vomiting
It is treated for lung diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or cystic fibrosis. Tests can help determine if the treatment is effective.
You have recently injured your head or neck, which may interfere with your breathing
He was addicted to drugs
They received medical attention while in the hospital. Tests can help make sure you get the right amount of oxygen.
Be toxic to carbon monoxide
Be injured in inhaling smoke
A newborn baby may need this test if he has trouble breathing.
What happens during the oxygen level test?
Most blood tests take a sample in a vein. For this test, the healthcare provider will take a blood sample from a vein. This is because the blood that comes out of the arteries has a higher level of oxygen than the blood that comes out of the artery. The sample is usually taken from a vein inside the wrist. This is called the radial artery. Sometimes the sample is taken from the vein in the elbow or breast. When a newborn baby is tested, a sample may be taken from the baby’s heel or navel.
During the procedure, your provider will insert a syringe with a syringe into the vein. You may feel a sharp pain as the needle enters the vein. Finding a blood sample in a blood vessel is often more painful than getting a blood vessel, which is the most common type of blood test procedure.
Once the syringe is full of blood, your provider will put a bandage on the piercing area. After the procedure, you or your provider will need to apply strong pressure to the area for 5-10 minutes, or even longer if you are taking blood thinners.
Will I have to do anything to prepare for the exam?
If your blood sample is taken from your hand, your healthcare provider may check your blood pressure called Allen before taking the sample. In the Allen test, your provider will put pressure on the arteries in your hand for a few seconds.
If you are taking oxygen therapy, your oxygen supply may be shut off for about 20 minutes before the test. This is called room temperature testing. This cannot be done if you cannot breathe without oxygen.
Are there any risks in testing?
There is very little risk of oxygen levels in the blood. You may have bleeding, scratches, or pain in the area where the needle was inserted. Although complications are rare, you should avoid lifting heavy objects 24 hours after the test.
What do the results mean?
If your blood pressure levels are abnormal, it may mean:
You do not get enough oxygen
It does not lose enough carbon dioxide
Have an imbalance in your acid-base levels
These conditions can be symptoms of lung or kidney disease. The test may not diagnose certain diseases, but if your results are unusual, your healthcare provider will order additional tests to confirm or issue a diagnosis. If you have any questions about your results, talk to your healthcare provider.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference scope, and cognitive results.
Is there anything else I need to know about blood oxygen levels?
Another type of test, called pulse oximetry, also checks blood oxygen levels. This test does not use a needle or require a blood sample. A pulse oximetry, a small clip-like device with a special sensor is attached to your finger, toe, or ear. As the device measures oxygen “peripherally” (outwardly), the results are given as the surrounding oxygen satellite, also known as SpO2.