New questions...thank you sincerely in advance... - 1256059

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New questions...thank you sincerely in advance... - 1256059

Are pulsox meters that are bought at drug stores, Rx'ies and such extremely accurate? Or nearly as accurate as the ones they use at hospitals and doctors offices?
Do you guys use these pulsox meters? If yes...what brand/make do you use?
Are they truly good indicators of pulmonary function?
They do not measure 'tidal volume' / total volume of the lungs..just effectiveness of heart and lungs...correct?
Now...the more important questions...
if a lung cancer patient or (anyone I guess) coughs or has coughing spells I assume this would affect deterimentally the pulsox meter readings?
Also...if a lung cancer patient has been having some recent coughing fits/episodes would the pulsox meter readings start to decrease and if so by how much on average? In other words...can a recurrence of cancer in the lung(s) be indicated by pulsox meter readings which are now lower than the higher readings which occurred prior to the "recent/new" coughing that recently started within the past three to four weeks?
She has a CT scheduled this Thursday to determine...I guess and an appointment with her oncologist later the same day. The CT is scheduled at 1:30pm and the doctor's appointment at 4:00pm...both are at Penn in Philadelphia. Can a radiologist give a full report on the CT within hours for the oncologist? Is this normal at most hospitals? Or is this not likely?
Please let us know and thank you very much in advance.

Dr West
Reply To: New questions…thank you sincerely in advance…

There is a wide range of quality in pulse oximeters, just as there is in flashlights or mobile phones. I would say that most are probably good enough to give a good idea, and the main issue is just whether the reading is generally over 90-93% or so. It tells whether the lungs are functioning to provide enough oxygen to the blood, but it doesn't say why if the number is low -- and specifically, it doesn't tell if there's recurrent cancer. It doesn't have any clear correlation with the presence or absence of cancer vs. any other cause of diminished lung function.

And as for the coughing, it's absolutely expected that the numbers can drop with a coughing fit, but there's such a range of what happens that there's no way to say what should be expected.

-Dr. West

Dr. Howard (Jack) West
Associate Clinical Professor
Medical Oncology
City of Hope Cancer Center
Duarte, CA

Founder & President
Global Resource for Advancing
Cancer Education