British Thoracic Society guidelines on emergency oxygen therapy for adults

Guideline summaryIn general: Oxygen is a treatment for hypoxaemia and not breathlessnessOxygen is a medicine which should only be administered to achieve a target oxygen saturationOxygen therapy should always be accompanied by an assessment of saturation and documented in the same way as any other prescribed medication.The guidelines identify four distinct categories of patient: The critically ill patientThe seriously ill patientPatients with conditions requiring controlled or low-dose oxygen therapyPatients not requiring oxygen therapy unless they become hypoxaemic (low saturations).Target saturations for each patient should be determined from the presenting complaint, a history of hypercapnic episodes (a high partial pressure of carbon dioxide), or previous interventions with non-invasive ventilation: Oxygen delivery devices and flow rates should be adjusted to keep the oxygen saturation within the desired rangeOxygen should be reduced in stable patients with satisfactory oxygen saturationIdeally, high-risk patients should be issued with oxygen alert cards by their physicians specifying an individualized saturation target and ideal method of oxygen delivery and dose.

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