Funny you should ask.
The pulse oximeter pictured here is a neat little gadget that Costco is selling. As you can see from the picture, it monitors your Heart Rate (pulse), Oxygen Level and your Blood Flow. In sum, very useful information provided in a matter of seconds with no penetration of your flesh. There is even a cool graph of your heart beat on the screen. In this period of wearables, the Pulse Oximeter is reminiscent of the first cell phones. But, you can feel like a camp counselor and wear it around your neck using the attached lanyard.
Before I go into explanations and specifications, I want to disclose that I bought one of these and have been using it for a week now. Love it! It is particularly useful when I am stair climbing. I like to get a handle on how my heart rate accelerates on the climb and then nosedives when I walk around to bring it down.
The Costco listing: “The Quest Pulse Oximeter is designed to support individuals as they monitor their pulse rate and oxygen saturation. This lightweight portable device takes fast, non-invasive measurements at the fingertip. Ideal for monitoring heart rate and oxygen saturation during sports activities, while exercising or during air travel. “
Okay, what does it measure?
Pulse Rate Measurement (BPM) – Measures the number of heart beats per minute. A normal adult pulse rate while resting is between 60 and 100 beats per minute.
Oxygen Saturation (SpO2) – Oxygen saturation is a measure of how much oxygen the blood is carrying as a percentage of the maximum it could carry. Measuring saturated hemoglobin is a useful screening tool for determining basic respiratory function.
Perfusion Index (PI%) – Perfusion index is an indication of the pulse strength at the sensor site. The PI’s values range from 0.2% for very weak pulse to 20% for extremely strong pulse.