COVID-19 Happy Hypoxia

COVID-19 Happy Hypoxia
Silent killer, it’s no good to get hypoxia!

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   The term “pulse oximeter” has become increasingly common in our daily life these days, and related products have also all sold out. What exactly is a pulse oximeter? How does it work?

  Peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2) or blood oxygen level refers to the proportion of oxyhemoglobin in the total hemoglobin (saturated + unsaturated). Simply speaking, it is the blood oxygen level. The normal blood oxygen level in the human body is 95-100%, and a blood oxygen level below 90% is referred to as hypoxia, which may cause sudden cardiac death. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, increasing numbers of patients seem to be asymptomatic but eventually die of sudden cardiac arrest due to hypoxia without knowing the cause. Such kind of unknown silent hypoxia is called happy hypoxia.

Traditionally, an invasive blood test is performed to examine the blood oxygen level. It is both dangerous and time-consuming. Later, intense pulsed light (IPL) was introduced to test the blood oxygen level at the fingertip or earlobe. The instrument is equipped with LEDs and light sensors. The LEDs emit a nano-beam of different wavelengths to the tested location and calculate the actual blood oxygen based on the difference of light absorption rate of oxyhemoglobin and non-oxyhemoglobin. Currently, transmission and reflection are the two common types of pulse oximeters. Although the different manufacturers design their products with their own expertise, the performance of both types is similar.

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Figure 1 LED TYPES

   Thanks to the trust and support of Cheer Time’s requirements for product stability and quality over the past decades, some customers have placed emergency orders for about 520,000 pieces of pulse oximeter PCBs from us during the ongoing pandemic. We even shipped 80,000 pieces to customers for emergency use within three weeks. Besides shipping a total of 140,000 pieces in 2020, we have already shipped 240,000 pieces in 2021 so far and scheduled another 140,000 pieces to be shipped within 2021Q3.

   In terms of product standards, the oximeter PCB falls in the highest IPC Class 3, which is intended for special use in the military, medical, and aerospace industries. While such kinds of products are often used in critical environments and matters of life and death, the manufacturing standards must be more stringent to ensure the flawless, reliable operation of instruments or devices in any situations. With a heart to serve customers and fulfill social responsibility, we have adopted the optimal design with the safest approach in manufacturing to ensure that product quality and performance meet the said requirements. For example, the electrical requirements for via copper thickness is 1000µ” (micro inch), the CCL must support a lead-free process and heat-tolerant process with CTE complying with IPC-4101, the impedance of the solder-mask layer must comply with 1.8 × 1013Ω, etc. By maintaining “safety first” in product design, we ensure that customers can feel safe using Cheer Time products.

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