Respiratory Therapist/Pulse of


Hi, I have. Normal healthy 4 year old. She had her the pulse of oxygen reading at a recent doctor visit and it was 96. I asked the doctor and nurse if that was normal, both said yes, their cut off for concern  was  94. My question is what are your thoughts, she is fine with no health problems. Should I follow up or be concerned? Thanks so much

Hi Heidi,

I think your doctor is right; you should not worry about your daughter's oxygen saturation of 96%. The oxygen saturation will fluctuate somewhat during the day normally. While it may be 97-99% most of the time it is not that uncommon for it to dip a little lower depending on circumstances. Also, oxygen saturation spot checks can be subject to a little interference from movement, site or probe fit, ambient light, blood flow (cool fingers), skin integrity or stress during a doctor's visit. Something as simple as a stuffy nose or a cold  can also lower the oxygen saturation a little if it keeps a child from breathing as effectively as normal. I have had many patients  with lower oxygen saturations that were normal after a few deep breaths because they were just breathing too shallowly. If your daughter had oxygen saturation levels consistently or frequently lower than 94%-95%, especially with symptoms of concern, your doctor would probably want to consider it further. It always pays to be aware but don't worry. Your daughter is very fortunate to have such a loving and concerned mother.

Best wishes to both of you.

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Stephanie Tyrrell


Respiratory Therapy is a very diverse field encompassing many specialty areas. I have experience in many of these areas and I am willing to answer any question I feel competent to answer within the scope of my experience in the following areas: neonatal ICU and transport, pulmonary rehabilitation, sleep studies, BiPAP/CPAP therapy, Holter monitoring, EKG, ventilator management, chronic and acute respiratory diseases,(i.e. COPD, asthma, restrictive disease, ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome), pneumonia, etc) and therapeutics, arterial blood gases, and others. Please see my profile under Experience for a full listing of areas of experience.


I have worked in respiratory therapy for over 25 years in all facets of patient care including level 4 neonatal ICU and neonatal transport, Director of Cardiopulmonary, community health fairs and networking, staff therapist, pulmonary rehabilitation, sleep studies and BiPAP/CPAP therapy, Holter monitoring, EKG, cardiac clinics, pre and post cardiac surgery education and patient care, emergency and long-term ventilator management, chronic diseases such as COPD, asthma, cystic fibrosis; acute respiratory distress syndrome, emergency room, home and nursing home respiratory care. I also provided temporary staff to area hospitals through an allied health business I owned and managed, while also working as a staff therapist for the business.

Certified Respiratory Therapist, Registered Respiratory Therapist, Licensed RT, NRP ((Neonatal Resuscitation Program) certified, BS Biology/Botany, MS Environmental Sciences - Toxicology

Past/Present Clients
Thousands of in-patient and out-patient clients in the hospitals I was/am employed by as well as a number of local hospitals that utilized the services of my allied health business. I currently work as a respiratory therapist at a general hospital and a rehabilitation hospital.

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