Oxygen is essential to maintain human life. If insufficient oxygenation occurs, oxygen supplementation may be required.
In most patients showing signs or symptoms of clinical hypoxia, oxygen enrichment is the basic therapy that should be administered to restore normal oxygen levels. Pulse oximetery or blood gas analysis should be used where possible to achieve target levels as specified by the British Thoracic Society (BTS) guidelines on the use of emergency oxygen.
Oxygen therapy is just one part of treating hypoxic patients. It is important to determine and to treat the underlying reason for insufficient oxygenation. For example, pneumonia should be treated with antibiotics and physiotherapy, heart failure should receive relevant drug therapy or if needed surgical intervention to restore adequate myocardial function. Oxygen therapy should be continued until normal oxygenation can be achieved from room air.
For some patients with chronic lung disease additional oxygen will always be required to maintain satisfactory levels of oxygenation.
Oxygen is used in wide range of clinical settings including;