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Do decreased oxygen saturation levels at night indicate that the oxygen intake needs to be increased?

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Posted on Wed, 10 Jun 2020
Question: I am the caregiver for my father in law who is extremely intelligent and believes he knows more than the doctors. He is 88 and has LOTS of heart problems and was recently hospitalized for pneumonia. He was put on oxygen upon release from the hospital. His oxygen level has improved during the day so he is just using the oxygen at night. His oxygen level drops significantly at night and he reports readings in the low 80's and has even had a 79. He argues that since doctors don't start measuring oxygen unless someone has a problem then how do we know that his particular body's setpoint for oxygen isn't 85 or a number below 90? Have studies been done on this?
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Answered by Dr. Jnikolla (12 minutes later)
Brief Answer:

No studies unfortunately

Detailed Answer:

Hello,

Usually when we doctors have a patient in older age and especially with lots of cardiac problems it is our duty to control the oxyxen saturation too.

Or when the patient has breathlessness, cianosis,cough or swelling the first thing to do is measuring his saturation.

Because heart failure compromise itself the lung function at the same time.

There are not studies on this concern unfortunately .

The fact that his saturation falls during the night makes me think that he needs more oxyxen intake probably 3-4 litres per minute but it is his treating doctor that will decide about this given the fact that he knows well his clinical condition .

So please discuss with your doctor for the above.

I wish a fast recovery for him

Regards and feel free to ask me again

Dr.Jolanda
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Prasad
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Dr. Jnikolla

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Practicing since :2003

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Do decreased oxygen saturation levels at night indicate that the oxygen intake needs to be increased?

Brief Answer: No studies unfortunately Detailed Answer: Hello, Usually when we doctors have a patient in older age and especially with lots of cardiac problems it is our duty to control the oxyxen saturation too. Or when the patient has breathlessness, cianosis,cough or swelling the first thing to do is measuring his saturation. Because heart failure compromise itself the lung function at the same time. There are not studies on this concern unfortunately . The fact that his saturation falls during the night makes me think that he needs more oxyxen intake probably 3-4 litres per minute but it is his treating doctor that will decide about this given the fact that he knows well his clinical condition . So please discuss with your doctor for the above. I wish a fast recovery for him Regards and feel free to ask me again Dr.Jolanda