Oxygen may be classified as an element, a gas, and a drug. Oxygen therapy is the administration of oxygen at concentrations greater than that in room air to treat or prevent hypoxia. Oxygen delivery systems are classified as stationary, portable, or ambulatory, and oxygen can be administered by mask, nasal cannula, and tent. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves placing the patient in an airtight chamber with oxygen under pressure.
The body is constantly taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide. If this process is inadequate, oxygen levels in the blood decrease, and the patient may need supplemental oxygen. Oxygen therapy is a key treatment in respiratory care. The purpose is to increase oxygen saturation in tissues where the saturation levels are too low due to illness or injury. Oxygen therapy is frequently ordered in the home care setting, as well as in acute care.
Some of the conditions that oxygen therapy is used for include:
severe respiratory distress (e.g., acute asthma or pneumonia)
acute myocardial infarction
short-term therapy, such as post-anesthesia recovery
Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used in the following conditions: