Recovery room oxygenation: A comparison of nasal catheters and 40 per cent oxygen masks Journal Articles uri icon

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  • One hundred and sixty-one ASA physical status I-III patients undergoing elective surgery were evaluated using nasal catheters versus 40 per cent O2 venturi masks. Twenty-one per cent of the patients arrived in the recovery room with hypoxia as measured with a pulse oximeter (SaO2 less than 90 per cent). Fifteen minutes later all patients who arrived hypoxic were well oxygenated on their chosen oxygen therapy. Only one patient that arrived normoxic became hypoxic using a nasal catheter 15 minutes later. There was no statistical difference between patients given 40 per cent O2 by mask versus patients given oxygen by nasal catheter. The mean SaO2 for the group given 40 per cent O2 at 15 minutes was 96.7 +/- 2.15 per cent versus 96.6 +/- 2.48 per cent for nasal catheters. Nasal catheters are as effective as 40 per cent O2 masks for treating hypoxia in the recovery room. Obesity and age were statistically significant risk factors in the patients that arrived hypoxic. Patients were 47.4 +/- 15.6 years in the hypoxic group versus 38.3 +/- 15.6 years in the non-hypoxic group (p less than 0.001). Patients having an endotracheal tube with intermittent positive pressure ventilation or having a premedication were more apt to be hypoxic on arrival. These last two factors were closely associated and may reflect bias. The patient's gender, history of smoking, presence of obstructive lung disease, not including asthma, location of incision, or type of anaesthetic were not statistically significant risk factors.


  • Hudes, Elliot T
  • Marans, Howard J
  • Hirano, Gail
  • Scott, Andrew C
  • Ho, Ken

publication date

  • January 1989