Oxygen therapy, a lifeline for many critically ill patients, can be delivered in nonintubated patients via several devices. Unlike patients with chronic hypoxemia, the long-term comfort or cosmetics of the patient are not a concern of intensivists; instead, the goal is to ensure adequate oxygen delivery to prevent hypoxemia. Although hypoxemia is often corrected with oxygen therapy, care should be taken to understand the pathophysiology leading to hypoxemia. The appropriate management of hypoxemia should include treatment of the underlying pathology to prevent any complication and progression of the disease. For example, many patients with postoperative atelectasis develop hypoxemia responsive to oxygen therapy. Treatment of postoperative hypoxemia with oxygen supplementation alone without initiating lung reexpansion measures to treat atelectasis is insufficient. This chapter covers noninvasive modes of supplying oxygen and does not discuss other means of correcting hypoxemia.
KeywordsChronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Obstructive Sleep Apnea Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Oxygen Therapy Oxygen Supplementation
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