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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Blue Tipped Fingers

02/18/2010

Question:

I have copd and emphysema. I went in for some minor surgery and noticed when I was there that the tips of my fingers under the nails were a blue/red. When the nurse came in to do all of the things they do before surgery she said my pulsox was 84. This is new for me should I be going to the dr as soon as possible or just make an appointment thank you

Answer:

Thank you for visiting NetWellness and for your question. A low oxygen level is a finding that generally warrants an evaluation. Only a health professional performing a thorough clinical exam is able to evaluate your symptoms and discuss your case specifically.

 

Treating low oxygen levels in COPD is important. Studies to evaluate the effectiveness of oxygen on survival were done in the early 1980s. These studies showed that people with low oxygen levels who wore supplemental oxygen for a majority of the day lived longer. Optimizing medical treatment with bronchodilators is important for people with low oxygen levels. In addition, an evaluation for pulmonary hypertension or sleep apnea may be useful. Finally, pulmonary rehabilitation can help improve symptoms of shortness of breath, improve exercise tolerance, and assess your true oxygen needs.

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Response by:

Michael E Ezzie, MD Michael E Ezzie, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University