|Oxygen Therapy For Heart Failure|
article is reprinted from Kaiser Permanente Web Site
Oxygen, which may be supplied by:
How It Works
Normally when you breathe in, oxygen enters your lungs and goes into your bloodstream. With oxygen therapy, you breathe in concentrated oxygen to increase the amount of oxygen that enters your blood and, ultimately, your body's cells.
Oxygen therapy may be given using several delivery systems, including air concentrators, oxygen-gas cylinders, and liquid-oxygen devices. Oxygen therapy is usually portable, and you can use it while doing daily tasks.
Oxygen can be given using a flexible plastic tube inserted in the nostrils (nasal cannula), a face mask, or a tube inserted into the windpipe (transtracheal cannula).
Selecting the type of oxygen supply should be based on your ability to move around. People who seldom leave the house may find that an oxygen concentrator gives the best combination of convenience and cost.
In all oxygen delivery systems, the risk of fire or explosion is high if you use oxygen around lit cigarettes or an open flame. If you or those who care for you smoke, oxygen therapy may not be a good option.
Why It Is Used
Long-term oxygen therapy is given to people with heart failure who have low levels of oxygen in their blood. It is given to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood to provide for the body's needs.
Oxygen therapy can decrease shortness of breath and allow you to do more.
How Well It Works
Oxygen therapy helps reduce the heart's workload. In heart failure, the heart does not pump as effectively as it should and does not meet the body's needs for oxygen. Oxygen therapy helps compensate by increasing the amount of oxygen delivered to the body's tissues.
Research shows that home oxygen therapy can help decrease shortness of breath and increases your capacity to exercise.1
Generally, there are no adverse effects from oxygen therapy.
Your doctor will set the flow rate per minute to give you the right amount of oxygen. Don't change the flow rate unless your doctor tells you. Higher flow rates usually do not help and can increase the risk of harmful carbon dioxide buildup in the blood, especially in those people who also have lung disease.
What To Think About
There is a high risk of fire or explosion if you use oxygen around lit cigarettes or an open flame. Put up no-smoking signs in your home. If you or others who care for you smoke, oxygen therapy may not be a good option because of this danger. Stay at least 5ft(1.5m) away from gas stoves, candles, lighted fireplaces, or anything that produces sparks.
Oxygen is usually delivered by a small plastic tube called a cannula. The cannula is placed under the nostrils and wrapped around your ears. To prevent your nose and cheeks and the skin behind your ears from becoming irritated, tuck some gauze under the tubing and use a water-based lubricant on chafed areas.
Oxygen can also be delivered through a face mask or oxygen tent or by a number of other devices.
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