New Oxygen Guidelines from British Thoracic Society

In February I wrote a blog about using oxygen in a Dental or GP practice,  Since then we have had updated guidelines from the British Thoracic Society.  You can read the full Guideline here and the press statement here. The advice in my previous blog is still in line with the new guideline and I’ve provided a link at the end.

The thing I draw attention when I’m training is that is important to work to the oxygen guidelines’ oxygen saturation target ranges which are 94-98% in adults; unless there is a history or COPD in which case the target is 88-92%.  These target ranges ensure that oxygen is given appropriately.  Giving excessive oxygen may cause harm, for example with patients who are having a Myocardial Infarction (Heart Attack).  In this situation giving excessive oxygen may increase the constriction in the coronary arteries and consequently increase the size of their heart attack.

I recommend that a finger pulse oximeter is available in all healthcare settings, where emergency oxygen may be given.  This enables oxygen saturations to be measured and oxygen to be given appropriately.  If however, it is not possible to gather an accurate recording then my advice to my clinicians is to use their clinical judgement and if the casualty is very unwell and/or is changing colour is to give oxygen whilst awaiting the paramedics.  It may not be possible to measure the oxygen levels if the person’s blood pressure is very low.  Please remember that finger pulse oximeters can be inaccurate if the person has nail varnish on especially if it is blue, green or red so it may be necessary to remove the varnish or turn the probe sideways.

I hope you found this information useful.  You may also like these:-

Using oxygen in a Dental or GP Practice

Emergency Drugs in a Dental or GP practice

Importance of measuring respiratory rate

Please comment below if you have anything to add or any questions.  Please share if you know someone who would also find it useful, thank you.