What Is Involved in the Management of Hypoxia?

T. Carrier

Hypoxia is a serious medical condition that involves a lack of oxygen supplied to body tissues. It may also be known as respiratory failure. As such, the management of hypoxia is focused on restoring normal oxygen levels. Respiratory equipment like catheters and masks are usually needed in order to provide the patient with oxygen. Individuals involved in treating hypoxia should also consider condition causes, locations, and potential complications such as improper dosage.

If supplemental oxygen fails to raise blood oxygen levels, emergency intubation may be necessary.
If supplemental oxygen fails to raise blood oxygen levels, emergency intubation may be necessary.

Several medical devices can help deliver oxygen to patients suffering from the signs of hypoxia. An elongated tube called a catheter may be placed into the patient’s nose. Oxygen is then pumped through the catheter from an oxygen machine or ventilator. Similarly, masks placed over the patient’s nose and mouth can also provide oxygen for the management of hypoxia.

Other health needs and supplies besides oxygen are also important in the management of hypoxia. Certain substances, like doxapram hydrochloride, can act as stimulants to the respiratory, system, better allowing a patient to breathe on his or her own. Since oxygen deprivation can damage the whole body, overall health maintenance is crucial, which may mean supplying the patient with extra nutrients via intravenous injections. Hypoxia can also affect electrolyte balance, so these substances may also require administration.

In addition, medical professionals must prevent complications in the management of hypoxia. For example, equipment must be used in a precise matter, such as placing catheters a certain distance from the nostrils’ openings. Further, oxygen must be parceled in approximate amounts, typically so many liters per minute. Excessive amounts of oxygen can cause problems, like abnormal carbon dioxide levels. Physicians must closely monitor hypoxia patients for these potential setbacks.

Treating the source cause is another factor in the management of hypoxia. If an underlying condition is impacting oxygen levels, then treatment of this condition should be a high priority. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, for example, may necessitate a combination of pharmaceutical and surgical treatments. Specific physical effects that contribute to hypoxia should also be managed, such as trapped air caused from prolonged closure of airways. This particular consequence is often treated by controlling the pressure exerted when an individual exhales.

Management of hypoxia may depend on which particular tissues are deprived of oxygen as well. For example, hypoxia-related brain damage is likely to cause the most damage and thus requires the most extreme management procedures. In acute emergency cases, a shortage of oxygen to brain tissue may create the need for life support. Hypoxia in infants is particularly damaging, as it can lead to severe neurological issues. Oxygen restoration procedures performed on small newborns will usually need modification.

Oxygen deprivation conditions are among the most costly medical disorders, since a body starved of oxygen can develop a number of long-term consequences. These results will more likely necessitate involved and prolonged medical care. The equipment used for treating hypoxia can also be quite costly.

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