During an emergency—such as a serious accident, possible heart attack, or other life-threatening event—you might be started on oxygen therapy right away.
Otherwise, your doctor will decide whether you need oxygen therapy based on test results. An arterial blood gas test and a pulse oximetry test can measure the amount of oxygen in your blood.
For an arterial blood gas test, a small needle is inserted into an artery, usually in your wrist. A sample of blood is taken from the artery. The sample is then sent to a laboratory, where its oxygen level is measured.
For a pulse oximetry test, a small sensor is attached to your fingertip or toe. The sensor uses light to estimate how much oxygen is in your blood.
If the tests show that your blood oxygen level is low, your doctor may prescribe oxygen therapy. In the prescription, your doctor will include the number of liters of oxygen per minute that you need (oxygen flow rate). He or she also will include how often you need to use the oxygen (frequency of use).
Frequency of use includes when and for how long you should use the oxygen. Depending on your condition and blood oxygen level, you may need oxygen only at certain times, such as during sleep or while exercising.
If your doctor prescribes home oxygen therapy, he or she can help you find a home equipment provider. The provider will give you the equipment and other supplies you need.
Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Oxygen Therapy, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.
December 26, 2012
Benefits of higher oxygen, breathing device persist after infancy
By the time they reached toddlerhood, very preterm infants originally treated with higher oxygen levels continued to show benefits when compared to a group treated with lower oxygen levels, according to a follow-up study by a research network of the National Institutes of Health that confirms earlier network findings, Moreover, infants treated with a respiratory therapy commonly prescribed for adults with obstructive sleep apnea fared as well as those who received the traditional therapy for infant respiratory difficulties, the new study found.
November 20, 2013
Gary H. Gibbons
New NHLBI Program Trains Scientists to Bring More Science Out of the Lab and into the Patient Care Marketplace
The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.