Prehospital use of supplemental oxygen therapy in the non-hypoxic patient

Supplemental oxygen therapy in the prehospital setting can be life saving in the treatment of hypoxaemia. However, it is often administered liberally in a routine manner without clinical indication. In hyperoxaemia, it is associated with a higher risk of morbidity and mortality in acutely ill patients. An audit was performed on the use of supplemental oxygen therapy in the Irish ambulance service, which looked at: reasons for ambulance transfer; delivery device used to administer supplemental oxygen; oxygen saturation levels before and after therapy; and level of the practitioner giving the treatment. The audit results were screened against formal international guidelines, and recommendations were made to improve practice, with a view to re-auditing in the future.

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