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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Oxygen Delivery

10/22/2009

Question:

When 6 lpm of oxygen by nasal canula is no longer enough to keep sats up what kind of mask and at what lpm is the next step?

Answer:

The best thing to do is to speak with your home oxygen company. Usually, a simple "venti-mask" is the next step, and this can go up to about 40-50% depending on the delivery device. However, this often requires a large oxygen tank to run. There are some home concentrators that can go as high as 10 Liters/minute and these can be useful for patients requiring more than 6 Liters/minute. In patients with IPF who are requiring more than 6 Liters/minute, it is a good idea to discuss hospice (if not eligible for transplant) in order to insure that symptoms of shortness of breath can be relieved even if the oxygen saturation cannot be maintained.

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University