Oxygen FAQ

Up to date, expert answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ) about oxygen supply systems, respiratory care and pulse oximetry written by OCC & collaborators.

Why are heat and humidification needed?

Moisture present in patients’ lungs is rapidly lost at high breathing rates.

When breathing dry air, cilia stop functioning properly (in a matter of hours – Hirsch et al J Appl Physio 1975). When the moisture level becomes low, mucous in the patient’s lungs can become thick and hard, and quickly block the patient’s airways, or the endotracheal tube, stopping airflow. 

Additionally, heat is rapidly lost to non-humidified air.

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