Navigating the Different Delivery Methods of Medical Oxygen

Navigating the Different Delivery Methods of Medical Oxygen

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In modern medicine, medical oxygen is often successfully delivered to patients as a lifesaving solution in several situations.

It may be needed by patients for various reasons, including the following:

  • Oxygen helps to eliminate toxins and waste, construct new cells, and support the immune system.
  • Healthcare professionals use oxygen to treat respiratory illnesses like pneumonia.
  • Oxygen is also essential for surgery and trauma.
  • Vulnerable groups like older people, pregnant women, young infants, and new-born babies need oxygen therapy regularly.
  • Supplemental oxygen therapy helps prevent heart failure in people who have severe lung diseases.

It is important to note that oxygen should be regarded as a drug. It is prescribed for hypoxemic patients to increase alveolar oxygen tension and decrease the work of breathing.

The concentration of oxygen required depends on the condition being treated; the administration of an inappropriate concentration of oxygen can have serious or even fatal consequences.

Medical oxygen can be delivered to patients through various methods. Each method has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. The choice of method depends on the patient’s condition and the medical professional’s judgement.

Let us discuss the different delivery methods of medical oxygen, how they work, and each one’s advantages and disadvantages:


Different Delivery Methods of Medical Oxygen


Nasal Cannula

A nasal cannula is a thin tube that delivers oxygen into the nostrils, often at low rates. To put on a nasal cannula, you need to make sure you have the right size cannula. The prongs should be long enough to enter the nostrils but not too wide to block them.

Attach the end connector of the cannula to the oxygen source and adjust the flow rate as prescribed by the doctor or nurse. Turn the cannula so the prongs are curved downward if they are curved and insert them into your nostrils. Lift the tubes on either side of your nose and fit them over your ears like glasses. Slide the adjuster under your chin to secure the cannula and prevent it from slipping.

A Nasal Cannula’s advantages include that it is easy to use, can be found everywhere, is relatively inexpensive, and can be used with any O2 source, without risk of gastric distension it can also be seen as one of the best delivery methods of medical oxygen.

Disadvantages are the fact that it is not intended for reuse and can be uncomfortable for some patients. It also does not help with actual breathing.


Face Mask

One of the delivery methods of medical oxygen is a face mask that covers the nose and mouth and gives varying amounts of oxygen depending on the setup.

It is connected to a reservoir bag filled with a high concentration of oxygen. The mask has two one-way valves: one valve is between the face mask and a plastic reservoir bag that’s attached to a supply of oxygen. The valve doesn’t allow exhaled air or outside air from entering the bag, so only oxygen flows from the bag to the mask.

The advantages of a face mask include that it can deliver high levels of  fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2) and positive pressure which may prevent need for intubation in some patients.

Disadvantages include that it requires high flows of oxygen, can be challenging to fit and may be uncomfortable. There also may exist significant misunderstanding about its proper use and humidification is required if it is used for prolonged periods.


Venturi Mask

A Venturi mask is a mask that delivers precise amounts of oxygen by mixing it with air.

To administer a venturi mask, you should check a physician’s order and identify if the patient needs it by using two identifiers.

With clean hands the venturi mask must be assembled per the manufacturer instructions to deliver the ordered fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2).  Attach oxygen connecting tubing to flow meter and set appropriate flow rate of ordered FiO2.

Check for cracks and discoloration on the mask and tubing. Place the mask over the patient’s face, with the small pointed end resting on the bridge of the nose. Pull on the end of the elastic band to adjust the mask for a comfortable fit.

A venturi mask’s greatest advantage is that it delivers precise amounts of oxygen by mixing it with air but unfortunately it is bulky and cumbersome to use and can be claustrophobia-inducing for some patients.


Non-rebreather Mask

A non-rebreather mask delivers high concentrations of oxygen with a reservoir bag and a valve to prevent exhaled air from entering.

It is used to deliver 70 to 100 percent oxygen if you need high-concentration oxygen but don’t need help breathing. Covering both the nose and mouth, a non-rebreather mask has two one-way valves. One valve allows inhalation of oxygen from a reservoir bag attached to an oxygen source.

Its advantage is that it delivers high concentrations of oxygen, but disadvantages include the need to watch reservoir bag closely to ensure it remains inflated at all times and it impedes on a patient’s ability to communicate, eat and drink.


Non-invasive Ventilation

Non-invasive ventilation (NIV) comprises a machine that provides positive pressure to the airways through a mask or a nasal device.

Non-invasive ventilation delivers ventilatory support without an artificial airway (endotracheal or tracheostomy tube) to patients who can breathe spontaneously.

NIV benefits include keeping the upper airway intact, preserving natural airway defences, self-expectorating secretions, and allowing the patient to eat, drink, and communicate verbally.

It can, however, be uncomfortable for some patients due to the positive pressure.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_empty_space][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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