Nasopharyngeal oxygen in adult intensive care--lower flows and increased comfort

Anaesth Intensive Care. 2004 Oct;32(5):670-1. doi: 10.1177/0310057X0403200511.


Nasopharyngeal oxygen therapy, the delivery of supplementary oxygen into the nasopharynx via a fine catheter placed through the nose, is a simple technique used in postoperative anaesthetic care units and paediatric intensive care, but never described in the setting of adult intensive care. In a prospective crossover design, we compared nasopharyngeal oxygen therapy with semi-rigid plastic mask (Hudson Mask) in 50 unintubated adult patients receiving supplemental oxygen. We measured oxygen flow rate to achieve cutaneous saturations 93 to 96%, and patient comfort by visual analogue score. Nasopharyngeal oxygen therapy consumed significantly less oxygen than mask administration (3.0+/-0.9 vs 6.7+/-2.1 l/min, P<0.001) and was associated with significantly higher comfort than the mask (7.5+/-1.6 cm vs 5.2+/-1.8, P<0.001).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Critical Care
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Laryngeal Masks*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasopharynx*
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy / methods*
  • Probability
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Treatment Outcome