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Oxygen Need: Tests and Diagnosis

What tests are used to diagnose oxygen need?

The amount of oxygen your child needs is determined by a test called pulse oximetry. During this test, a lighted probe is attached to your child’s finger or toe to measure oxygen content. The device looks like a finger puppet, and is painless. The flow of oxygen that your child receives is measured in liters per minute (lpm). Sometimes an x-ray will be performed to see if there is a respiratory illness such as a pneumonia which is causing a low oxygen level.

How do providers at Children’s Hospital Colorado make a diagnosis?

Your child’s health care provider will diagnose oxygen need based on a physical exam, your child’s symptoms and the results of a pulse oximetry test. Other tests, including an x-ray or tests for an infection, may be needed to determine the cause of your child’s low oxygen level.