My oximeter always shows a value of 97. I've been trying to figure out how to influence the value, however it always stays the same.

I tried to hold my breath or tied my finger up (to limit blood flow), with the assumtion, that this would lower the blood oxigen level. However, the value stayed the same.

How could I change my values (up and down)?

  • Smoke a lot, and it will plummet.
    – Narusan
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 21:58
  • Why? Saturation measures dissolved oxygen content and most smokers don't run around being severely hypoxic. Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 23:05
  • 1
    @GrahamChiu Not severely but there is a measurable decrease. Remember that the CO in cigarette smoke fools pulse oximetry.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 0:41
  • I was objecting to the term plummet Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 1:02
  • @GrahamChiu Figure of speech. I was rather joking too...
    – Narusan
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 4:53

1 Answer 1


I tried it out on my pulse oximeter. I placed it on my thumb where it read 97%. I then held my breath and it gradually dropped down over the course of a minute to 93% before I had to give up.

I suggest you check your device on other people in case it's defective.

  • ok, thank you. that means that my theory about holding the breath is true and my device might be broken.
    – Frezzley
    Commented Oct 19, 2017 at 22:59
  • @Frezzley Yeah, device is broken or you're not holding your breath long enough. You can definitely drop your SpO2 by holding your breath.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 0:41
  • @Frezzley I’d recommend not staying under 85% for too long, that’s the area where it gets unhealthy (hypoxia)
    – Narusan
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 5:10
  • +1 to this. Usually it takes holding for a while for the #s to start dropping @Frezzley so have someone else give it a go too to see if it's just inaccurate.
    – DoctorWhom
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 8:13
  • little update: after your answer, I tried it a couple of times more, holding my breath for even longer - the value doesn't start to drop up until about 1 min 45 seconds (97%) but then starts drastically decreasing to 83% ober the following 15 secons. Which means, that you were right, with the assumption, that i'm not holding my breath enough.
    – Frezzley
    Commented Oct 20, 2017 at 12:56

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