Pulse Oximeter the Size of a Matchbox


A COPD patient on chronic O2 therapy at 3 L/min comes to your office and asks if he can use a portable pulse oximeter. He wants to take the device with him when he goes outside. Are there any available?


Yes, there are ultra-portable pulse oximeters. One patient showed up at the office recently with a pulse oximeter the size of a match box. The oximeter is fully portable and is powered by a AAA battery which needs replacement every 4-5 months. Similar devices are used to alert climbers at high altitude to the potential onset of acute mountain sickness. Not all of them are certified for medical use though.

Nonin Medical, Inc. makes a portable pulse oximeter called Onyx. The price is about $ 300. See a flash movie.

Disclaimer: I am not connected to Nonin Medical, Inc. in any way and I do not recommend the device. It is just an example of a portable pulse oximeter.

Image source: Nonin.com


  1. Really nice and i think it would be very usefull for those patients.

    I just wonder if that price is right.

  2. My clinic used a similar finger pulse oximeter for several years.O2 sat was rountinely measured in ptns. with dyspnea or chest pain or dizzyness or feeling faint.It has been called the fifth vital sign.and after a while the nurses routinely checked it on almost every one.They work well and i have carried on in my pocket for consults.The price was about $300 -400.

  3. This oximeter is available at http://www.santamedical.net