VOL: 98, ISSUE: 48, PAGE NO: 29WHAT IS IT?
- Oxygen (O2) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless gas that makes up 21 per cent of the atmosphere. Additional O2 can save lives when administered correctly.
- In critical situations, such as massive trauma and acute severe asthma, if there is no evidence of ventilatory failure (CO2 not raised) high flow oxygen can be administered.
- A no-smoking policy is imperative as oxygen promotes combustion.
- Nasal cannulas/simple masks: for single patient use but do not represent clinically important risks of infection. Need not be routinely replaced during a single admission in the acute situation (see local clinical procedures and guidelines).
- Cylinder, liquid tank or concentrator. Depending on the system used 24-100 per cent of O2 can be administered.
Murphy, R. et al (2001)Emergency oxygen therapy for the breathless patient. Emergency Medicine Journal; 18: 6, 421-423.
British Thoracic Society: www.brit-thoracic.org.uk