Chapter 5: Oxygen Therapy

5.7 Cautions with Oxygen Therapy

Critical Thinking Exercises: Questions, Answers, and Sources / References

  1. A patient is being discharged with low SpO2 and will receive home oxygen. Name 4 vital safety components to review with the patient prior to discharge


  • no smoking. Post no smoking signs in your home
  • Keep at least 5 feet away from open flames (lit cigarettes, gas stoves, candles, lighted fireplaces)
  • Do not use flammable products (grease, oils, aerosol sprays, petroleum based lubricants)
  • Store oxygen system away from open flammable items. Secure cylinders to prevent falling
  • Have fire extinguisher available
  • If using an oxygen concentrator:
    • Avoid using an extension cord
    • Store in an area that will allow proper air circulation and prevent overheating (not a closet)
    • Store 12-18 inches from drapes or walls

Source: MedPro Respiratory care.(2012)  Home oxygen safety.


  1. Persons with COPD are at risk for developing a complication called oxygen induced hypoventilation. What is the cause of this and how can it be prevented?

Answer: this is based on the belief that persons with COPD rely on the hypoxic drive to breathe and thus by providing supplemental oxygen to patients with COPD they fail to breathe (hypoventilate). Newer research suggests SpO2 for persons with COPD  should be titrated to 88-92%.

Source: Abdo, W., Heunks, L. (2012). Oxygen induced hypercapnia in COPD: myths and facts. Critical Care, 16(5).  .doi:  10.1186/cc11475



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