Advanced Life Support (ALS) Level 3 (VTQ)

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Nasal Cannula

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2 min 13 sec
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Nasal Cannula Overview

Introduction to Nasal Cannula

Delivering Low-Dosage Oxygen Over Extended Periods

In this brief video, we'll explore the nasal cannula, a device commonly used for administering controlled, low-dosage oxygen over extended durations. Nasal cannulas are frequently employed to support individuals with respiratory issues, chest infections, and chronic lung conditions, either in the home environment or within hospital wards. The goal is to provide a gentle and continuous supply of oxygen without risking over-oxygenation and related complications like hypoxic drive.

Components of a Nasal Cannula

Understanding the Key Elements

  • Oxygen Inlet: Connects to the primary oxygen source, either in a hospital ward or an ambulance.
  • Nasal Cannula Tubes: Twin tubes extend from the oxygen inlet, designed for inserting into each nostril.
  • Retaining Strap: A cord attached to the nasal cannula tubes, positioned at the back of the head to secure the cannulas in place.

Proper Nasal Cannula Placement

Ensuring Comfort and Efficacy

Steps for correctly placing the nasal cannula:

  1. Insert the cannulas into each nostril.
  2. Position the tubing over the back of the head, running behind the ears.
  3. Adjust the retaining strap at the back to maintain the cannulas securely in position.

Once in place, the nasal cannula delivers a gentle flow of oxygen directly into the nasal passages. With each breath, the patient inhales a slightly elevated oxygen concentration, which gradually improves oxygen saturation in the bloodstream. Although not the most comfortable accessory to wear, when correctly fitted and managed, nasal cannulas should not cause any significant discomfort. These devices typically administer oxygen at a rate of 2-4 litres per minute, resulting in oxygen concentrations of approximately 28% to 36%.