Oxygen Therapy Overview

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Feb 24, 2011

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Oxygen therapy is the administration of oxygen at concentrations higher than that is present in room air to treat or prevent low levels of oxygen in your blood (hypoxemia). Nasal cannula, mask, and tent are most commonly used to administer oxygen. The aim of oxygen therapy is to increase oxygen saturation in tissues where the levels are too low due to illness or injury. Oxygen therapy increases the level of oxygen in the blood, reduces the extra work of the heart, and reduces shortness of breath. Oxygen therapy may be given at home, in emergency (urgent) care facilities or at hospital. Some of the conditions in which oxygen therapy is beneficial are:

  • Hypoxemia (low levels of oxygen in blood)
  • Breathing difficulties due to diseases such as acute asthma or pneumonia)
  • Severe trauma
  • Lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, including chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and hronic asthma)
  • Heart attack
  • During recovery from anesthesia


If oxygen is given under pressure with the patient in an airtight chamber it is called hyperbaric oxygen therapy.



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