To answer the question, “what is a medical oxygen sensor?’ in simple terms, we can say:

“Oxygen Sensors are electric devices that measure the proportion of oxygen in the material being analyzed.” 

The mechanism of galvanic cells can be used in oxygen sensors to gain results. 

Galvanic Cells– Role in Oxygen Sensors?

A galvanic cell is an electrochemical cell that converts the chemical energy of spontaneous redox reactions into electrical energy. 

Galvanic cells used in oxygen sensors contain an oxygen-permeable membrane. The oxygen that crosses the membrane is reduced at the cathode of the cell. The chemical reaction of reduction of oxygen produces an electrical current which is directly related to the concentration of water. 

The mechanism is applied in the oxygen sensors to measure the oxygen in the blood. 

Applications of Oxygen Sensors in Healthcare

Oxygen sensors are used in a variety of medical devices because a physician must know the oxygen status of the patient to prevent hypoxia and hypoxemia. The data from oxygen sensors is critical in making the life-saving decision of whether or not to increase the oxygen supply to the patient. Oxygen sensors are used in the following devices:


Ventilators are breathing machines that breathe for you by helping the lungs in their work. It is a life-saving machine, especially in conditions where the lungs are not performing their function adequately like in Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS). It is also used after surgery while the patient is still under general anesthesia. Ventilators contain oxygen sensors that measure the oxygen content of a patient’s blood to evaluate the working of the ventilator and the patient’s condition. 

Anesthesia Machine:

An anesthesia machine is a medical device that provides the patient with a mixture of oxygen and anesthetic agents to the patient allowing them to stay asleep during the operation; breathing but unconscious. An anesthesia machine is also used to save the patient from pain during surgery. Anesthesia machines contain oxygen sensors to evaluate the patient’s oxygen need and fulfill it. 

Oxygen Concentrators:

Oxygen concentrators are medical devices that take air from the surrounding environment and filter out nitrogen from it. As a result, the oxygen concentration increases in the air, and the patient gets more targeted oxygen therapy. Oxygen concentrators vary from oxygen tanks and containers that supply oxygen through a mask. Oxygen concentrators are large electrically working devices that take in air from the room and pump out the air with more oxygen concentration. Oxygen concentrators also use oxygen sensors to evaluate patients’ needs. 

Positive Airway Pressures:

PAP therapy is a term used for treatments of sleep apnea that provides a stream of compressed air to keep the airway patent during sleep. The support to the airway keeps breathing normally during sleep. The patient wears a mask and a machine attached to the mask compresses the air taken from the room. The positive pressure keeps the airway open. It is a safe and effective treatment and some PAP machines use oxygen sensors to evaluate the amount of oxygen given to the person during sleep.