Oxygen administration via a nasal cannula incorporating a small collapsible reservoir (Oxymizer, Chad Therapeutics Inc, California) was compared with delivery via a standard nasal cannula. Twelve patients with chronic, stable hypoxaemia (arterial oxygen tension less than 60 mm Hg (8.0 kPa)) were studied. Transcutaneous oxygen and carbon dioxide tensions were recorded by skin electrodes and oxygen saturation by ear oximetry. Baseline measurements during the breathing of air were compared with those made during the breathing of oxygen at flow rates of 0.5, 1.0, and 2.0 l/min via each device. Increases in saturation and transcutaneous oxygen tension were significantly greater at each flow rate with the reservoir device than with the conventional cannula. To produce similar improvements in oxygenation the reservoir device required an oxygen flow rate about half that of the conventional cannula. Use of the reservoir device may reduce the inconvenience and perhaps the cost of supplying domiciliary oxygen, and prolong the time during which patients may rely on a portable cylinder.
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