Friday night we took my mother to the ER due to nausea, dizziness & being hot, when we arrived the nurse asked my mother if she only wore oxygen when she slept? Confused we all answered that she never wore oxygen, seeing she is 51 and in fairly good health conditions. As the evening and next afternoon slipped by we came to find out that my mothers blood oxygen levels were only reaching 80%, but she has no symptoms, no shortness of breath, no blue lips or fingers & no lose of memory. Today is Wednesday and we brought her home to a house filled with oxygen tanks because there doesn't seem to be anyone that can diagnose the problem. She has had well over 20 test performed on her anywhere from blood work to a heart cath. EVERY test that was performed has come back negative and that she has a clean bill of health!!! They thought that it could be her blood gases mixing causing the levels to appear low, but after the heart cath was completed we learned that wasn't the case. They have sent us home today full of false hope, we are having a sleep apnea test done in 2 weeks because they think that might have contributed to the low levels. She has no pneumonia, no blood clot in the lungs, no pulmonary failure ... What could this be?
The first step should be to make sure that the alleged oxygen levels of 80% is accurate. If the instrument is deemed to be functioning normally, it might still give a falsely low reading in the presence of low hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen, especially the hemoglobin called methemoglobin. Your mother's symptoms are suggestive of carbon monoxide poisoning but this type of instrument usually gives a falsely high oxygen reading in the circumstance of carbon monoxide poisoning, not a low reading as you have indicated.
You should ask if the heart catheterization included an examination for what is called intra-cardiac, in-the-heart, shunting and if the blood oxygen measurements, during the catheterization, were consistent with the oximeter readings of 80%.
You should request consultation with a lung specialist. Ask that hemoglobin electrophoresis be performed. If the catheterization did not specifically rule-out shunting, ask that an echocardiogram with a bubble study be performed. Also ask that pulmonary function tests (PFTs) be performed to rule out chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), if not already done. She might also need a high resolution CT scan of the lungs to rule-out interstitial lung disease, which is not apparent on a plain chest x-ray.
Copyright 1994-2016MedHelp International.All rights reserved. MedHelp is a division of Aptus Health.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.