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Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19
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This opinion article from a doctor who specializes in respiratory therapy describes what COVID-19 is doing to your lungs as it depletes your oxygen supply, even while you are not feeling symptoms other than being run down.

https://www.nytimes.com/...o3xwmi89vO4akFYc8PN0

And he suggests that an inexpensive device ($25 and up) called a pulse oximeter, obtainable at a pharmacy or online without a prescription, could give a person an early warning that they were taking in less oxygen. He says people who get medical intervention before their lungs crash have a much better recovery and survival.

So I have heard that Garmin wearables can check “pulse ox” so I went onto Garmin Connect to search for the widget for my 645M. I couldn’t find one. If you have this app on your Garmin, could you tell me its name?

And, interestingly, hours after I went online to Garmin Connect to search for the app, Garmin sent me an email describing the ways its wearables can alert you to changes in your health, but it didn’t point me to a pulse ox app.

The note did suggest taking part in a mass study that uses the MyDataHelps app to help researchers aggregate health info from Garmin users. I downloaded the app but have not signed up yet, because I want to understand better where the data is going and how it will be used.

Sharon McN
@IronCharo
#TeamZoot
Clif Bar Pace Team 2003-2018
Last edited by: SharonMcN: Apr 25, 20 8:02
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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Not a response to your question, but more of an addition.

Another fitness/recovery tracker, Whoop, tracks your respiratory rate while sleeping. Their promotional material talks about them meeting a gold standard for this functionality (or something to that effect, my NP wife tells me that this is impressive). As I understand it, a sharp increase in respiratory rate (e.g., from 17 to 19) can serve as an indicator. All of this is of course subject to the usual disclaimers that this is not medical advice, etc., and you should see a doctor if you suspect you are infected.

I am not in any way affiliated with whoop. I've just been using them, Garmin, and Apple Watch for some time and have personal opinions as to the usefulness of each.
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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I don’t believe the pulse ox is something that can be added via widget. I got my Dad the Vivosmart 4...least expensive with pulse ox, as he is always using and needing to replace batteries on the finger pulse ox.

check out my blog http://theswimmingtriathlete.com
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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The 945 has it built into the watch
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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The 645 doesn’t have the Pulse Oximeter feature. It’s a different sensor on bottom.
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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here you go, all the wearable with the Pulse Oximeter capability. Garmin is toward the bottom and the 645 indeed has it.

https://www.wareable.com/...garmin-wearables-340

"...the street finds its own uses for things"
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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I think the body battery feature of the 945 would provide an early warning. It tells me when I'm getting run down need more rest.

I strive to get it all the way back up every night and I feel much healthier.
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [AutomaticJack] [ In reply to ]
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That website is wrong.
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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as with any other device, need to use it for some time to get a baseline..
The Garmin pulse ox is not quite as accurate as the ordinary fingertip ones, even their documentation says so.

I've used the fingertip ones for a decade or so since pneumonia did a number on my lungs.. the numbers are in accordance with those I get when tested in the labs, so fairly confident these will be usefully accurate.

Also note that in highly trained athletes, desaturation during intense efforts is not uncommon - well down into the 80s, which normally is cause for hospitalization.
I can get to low 80s with a few hill repeats..

I need to be asleep to go fast in any sport these days. Even old dogs have good dreams.
G-man
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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I have the Garmin Fenix 5X Plus and that has the Pulse Oximeter built in. You have to get the X level to get that feature. I have been tracking mine for a while and while it is not medically qualified device, it does alert me to any patterns in the levels.

Owner of a few Speed Concepts since 2011.
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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FR945, Fenix 6, and Marq have Pulse Ox. It is one of a number of metrics that could be used to suggest the presence of any health issues so should not be used in isolation. Changes should be considered along with the presence of other symptoms before ‘panicking’ and contacting an overworked and struggling health system.
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [jaretj] [ In reply to ]
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jaretj wrote:
I think the body battery feature of the 945 would provide an early warning. It tells me when I'm getting run down need more rest.

I strive to get it all the way back up every night and I feel much healthier.

Agree. The Body Battery is a good measure of wellness since its based on heart rate variability / responsiveness of the autonomic nervous system. While Pulse Ox is great for telling your current oximetry, I don't think it would give a great early warning.

On the other hand, if you're rundown, or your body is fighting something off, the Body Battery ought to show it. I came down with the flu back in July and my Body Battery sat at 5 for the better part of a week, as I started to recover each day I'd wake up and it'd be a little higher until I was fully recovered and waking up at 100. With something like Covid where there's a several day incubation period, I'd hope that maybe you'd start to see the inverse of what I saw as I started to kick the flu.

As others have mentioned though, obviously these devices shouldn't be used as your sole point of reference, but I've found that generally they'll reinforce what I'm feeling and provide some quantitative validation for what I'm feeling whether I'm overtrained, feeling great, or coming down with something.

Raf
http://www.shutuplegs.org
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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Fingertip meters can be had fairly inexpensively: $20 for one on eBay/Amazon, and $25-60 for name brads at CVS/Target/etc. (ex. Phillips sells one for $35).

They may be helpful for Covid detection, but also are a good/cheap way to measure training fatigue.

The sensor and led(s) are different than HR detection, so the watch needs to have it built in (i.e. not doable via a software upgrade). Eventually I expect all the higher end Garmins to have it an addition to HR, there's just some time for trickle down.
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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At best, it could tell you that you got sick 1 weeks ago and you are starting to experience symptoms...

You will probably see the exact same results if you took your temperature every days.

And for sure that will give you alot of false positive. In my part of the world, we test everyone with any symptoms... and only 3% of the test are positive...
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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Whilst my Fenix 6 didn't predict my Coronavirus, the stats made for interesting reading. Body Battery didn't go above (or, below strangely) 5 for around 2 weeks, my pulse Ox stats were around 82 at night going up to about 90 during the day.
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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As someone wearing a Whoop and a 945 who is recovering now from a confirmed and tested positive case, they both showed these data changes. Garmin with pulse ox and respiration and whoop with lower HRV and higher respiration.
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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I don’t think Garmin’s pulse ox is all that accurate. I’ve been monitoring mine for well over a year and is hovers around 93% at sea level. Literally, I live at the ocean. A medical pulse ox has put me at 99% almost always. That said, when I backpack up at 12,000+ feet elevation, it does give me acclimation stats that seem to correlate with perceived oxygen levels.

Hillary Trout
San Luis Obispo, CA

Plagued by PF. Now I just swim.
https://www.slogoing.net/
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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garmin has a blog post about research they are taking part in to see the answer to the question:

https://www.garmin.com/...-detect-coronavirus/
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [s5100e] [ In reply to ]
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Thanks everybody for the insights. Especially those who tested positive for the coronavirus and are recovered/recovering.

I’m adding that Garmin link to my original post.

Sharon McN
@IronCharo
#TeamZoot
Clif Bar Pace Team 2003-2018
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [recoil] [ In reply to ]
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recoil wrote:
Whilst my Fenix 6 didn't predict my Coronavirus, the stats made for interesting reading. Body Battery didn't go above (or, below strangely) 5 for around 2 weeks, my pulse Ox stats were around 82 at night going up to about 90 during the day.

I don't think your fenix 6 pulse oximeter is accurate.
You'd be pretty unwell with sats in the low 80's, definitely needing oxygen support- someone with sats of 82% would definitely be admitted to hospital.
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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I think it could be a confirmation along with some symptoms that may be present such as shortness of breath. It could help in diagnosis.

I have the 5x plus with pulse ox. I have observed that when it goes to the 80s in CO, I definitely have shortness of breath when going up stairs or something when acclimating. It’s a similar concept with the virus. Covid 19 rather than the altitude is causing diminished amounts of Oxygen to be present in the blood as it attacks the lungs.

https://www.strava.com/...tes/zachary_mckinney
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [plant_based] [ In reply to ]
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Yeah I'm an ICU doctor in the UK and have been treating Covid patients for the last 2 months, so I do understand the concept behind the drop in sats.
However in Covid, it is the viral damage to the lung causing an acute respiratory distressed process which causes problems, and in that case with sats in the 80s you would be unwell. Your lungs are damaged, and you need support.
At altitude, your lungs are fine and its the different partial pressure of oxygen in the air that causes problems, that's why you're short of breath with low sats but otherwise well.
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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I too read the article in the New York Times and wondered about Pulse Oximeter in my Garmin Fenix 6X. Garmin states on their website that it should not be used to diagnosed or treat any disease. That sounds like a lawyer language. I understand that accuracy may not be as good as that of a finger based sensor, but at least the trend lines can point to a problem.


I don't see a downside of not using a built-in Pulse Ox and I'm glad that people here, who had COVID-19, chimed in to say that they saw downward trends in their data.


I've also written a quick take on the Pulse Oximeter.
Last edited by: Vilen: Apr 27, 20 11:05
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Re: Could Garmin Pulse Oximeter provide early warning for COVID-19 [SharonMcN] [ In reply to ]
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As for me would be better purchase own pulse oximeter. Like in this article https://webproductradar.com/best-pulse-oximeter
Last edited by: martingarsia: Nov 26, 20 5:35
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