Oxygen Therapy

  • E. Sherwood Jones


Oxygen was discovered in 1774 by Joseph Priestley, who was the first to suggest that breathing oxygen ‘might be salutary to the lungs in certain morbid cases’. The early apparatus for oxygen administration consisted of a rubber tube through which oxygen was delivered to the patient’s mouth. During the 1914–18 war Haldane devised a face piece and valve which prevented waste of oxygen during expiration and allowed the concentration of oxygen to be varied. In 1938 Barach reported the neurological complications of oxygen therapy, which could be prevented by giving low concentrations of oxygen which were gradually increased. It was not until 1960 that E. J. M. Campbell devised a simple and reliable mask which delivered predetermined concentrations of oxygen in the range 24–35% with an accuracy of 2%. Controlled oxygen therapy thus became feasible and, with monitoring of the blood gases, oxygen therapy was placed on a rational basis.


Chronic Bronchitis Acute Respiratory Failure Oxygen Therapy Chronic Lung Disease Tissue Hypoxia 
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References and Bibliography

  1. Bethune, D. W. and Collis, J. M. (1967). An evaluation of oxygen therapy equipment. Thorax, 22, 221PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Campbell, E. J. M. (1967). The management of acute respiratory failure in chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Am. Rev. Resp. Dis., 626Google Scholar
  3. Catterall, M. (1960). A new mask for delivering oxygen or other gases. Br. Med. J., 1, 1941PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Green, I. D. (1967). Choice of method for administering oxygen. Br. Med. J., 3, 593PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Harris, E. A., Kenyon, A. M., Nisbet, H. D., Seelye, E. R. and Whitlock, R. M. L. (1974). The normal alveolar-arterial-oxygen-gradient in man. Clin. Sci. Mol. Med., 46, 89PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Hutchinson, D. C S., Flenley, D. C. and Donald, K. W. (1964). Controlled oxygen therapy in respiratory failure. Br. Med. J., 2, 1159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Scottish Home and Health Department (1969). Uses and dangers of oxygen. therapy. (Edinburgh: H.M.S.O.)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© E. Sherwood Jones 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Sherwood Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.Whiston HospitalPrescot, MerseysideUK

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