- By: Nina Ruth Lewis, Jo Fitz-Henry
As the house officer, you must prevent your patients from turning blue. Having to manage the patient with acute hypoxia causes anxiety among many doctors. We hope that this article will dispel common misconceptions that you may have about hypoxia and its treatment and give you the confidence to carefully prescribe oxygen (yes it's a drug) for those in need.
This is a failure of oxygenation. Its causes may be remembered by consideringthe different steps of the oxygen cascade (see table 1).
Alveolar hypoventilation and collapse can be corrected by mobilisation and drainage of secretions. Posture is important—sitting the patient up enhances breathing by increasing diaphragmatic descent and therefore tidal volume.
Non-rebreathing mask with reservoir bag: A reservoir bag improves the maximum FiO2 to up to 60%. The reservoir fills up with oxygen during expiration and is breathed in during inspiration.
These systems deliver a precise concentration of inspired oxygen