We have studied the efficacy of three devices designed to conserve oxygen delivered to patients with hypoxic chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Devices A and B are valve systems, which deliver oxygen only during inspiration. Device C is a modified nasal prongs system incorporating a "moustache reservoir" (Oxymizer, Chad Therapeutics Inc, Woodland Hills, California), which is claimed to produce a higher arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2) from a given flow of oxygen than does continuous delivery through nasal prongs. Devices A and B were found to give the same oxygen saturation as continuous flow oxygen, but only device B reduced the flow of oxygen significantly (p less than 0.01). The flow characteristics of device A were likely to be the cause of this failure to conserve oxygen. Device C produced a higher mean rise in SaO2 than did standard nasal prongs at all oxygen flow rates, and was able to achieve the same rise in SaO2 as standard nasal prongs with a small (25-33%) saving in oxygen delivery. There was, however, considerable variation between patients in the oxygen saving efficiency of device C, with little or no oxygen saving in seven of the 12 patients studied.
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