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Oxygen Therapy

The goal of oxygen therapy is to treat or prevent hypoxemia. Oxygen is considered a medication and is therefore administered in the lowest possible concentration to produce the most acceptable oxygenation without causing toxicity. When delivering oxygen, the caregiver must ensure that it is properly humidified to prevent drying and irritation of the respiratory tract and to facilitate secretion removal.

Oxygen Delivery Devices

Simple Mask

For acute situations and very short-term use (set at 6 - 10 Liters per minute).

O2 flow MUST be set to a minimum of 6 Liters/min to facilitate clearance of CO2

Nasal Cannula

Offers low flow O2 concentration for extended periods of time. Maximum O2 flow should be 2 Liters/min for newborns and infants. Maximum O2 flow for older children should be 4 Liters/min

Include humidity for O2 flow >1Liters /min

Nebulized Low Flow O2 Mask

For continuous O2 therapy

Used to deliver humidified O2 up to 60%

Set Oxygen flow at 10-15 Liters/min

Use dial at the nebulizer connection to the sterile water bottle to set prescribed oxygen dose

High Flow Nebulized O2 Mask

Used for patients who require O2 delivery at >60% to maintain adequate oxygenation. Note: Respiratory Therapist should be notified for the assessment of the patient and setup of this device

Set O2 flow to >15 Liters/min (e.g. wide open)

Set prescribed O2 dose on the dial

Use an oxygen analyzer to ensure accurate oxygen delivery

Oxygen Hood

Fits over an infant’s head and neck

Set O2 flow at 10-15 Liters / min

Set prescribed O2 dose using dial

Use an oxygen analyzer to ensure accuracy

Trach Mask/Collar

Set O2 flow at 10-15 Liters per minute

Set prescribed O2 dose using dial

Must be humidified as bypasses natural humidification provided by the mucosal layer of the upper respiratory tract

An oxygen analyzer should be used to ensure accuracy



Reference: Critical Care Nursing of Infants and Children (Second Ed.). Martha A.Q Curley & Patricia A. Moloney-Harmon. W.B Saunders Company, Toronto: 2001, pages 266-268.