Respiratory or breathing problems are universal in nature with people from all parts of the world suffering from them. Therefore, hospitals have a set-up or systems to provide oxygen therapy and assist in such cases. In general, there are two ways to allow the delivery of oxygen – oxygen masks and nasal cannulas. The use of these will depend on the requirements and health condition of the patient.
Similarly, both the devices and tools are used to help people who are hypoxic, or those who have inadequate oxygen supply to the body. You should know that hypoxemia can be caused due to several reasons, including cardiac disease, respiratory problem, trauma etc. Irrespective of the cause of the problem, patients can use cannulas or masks to meet the supply of oxygen in a simple and hassle-free manner.
In most cases, a nasal cannula is preferred to deliver oxygen to the body as they have a favorable design and its shape does not hinder a patient to perform daily activities. Additionally, they are cost-effective and can be replaced every month. If cannulas do not seem comfortable enough, you can use a face mask which is very helpful for stationary conditions.
Which one to use?
It’s clear that both, masks and cannulas, come with their own set of advantages and features and you can try them as per own requirements. More importantly, you can consult a doctor if you are not able to decide which one is more suitable.
Let’s look at both the devices and their merits from the perspective of utility –
A simple mask comes with open side ports to help dilute the oxygen and let carbon dioxide release. Since it allows oxygen delivery via the mouth or nose, it is thus suitable for all types of users. It’s also possible to select the device based on the features and fitting over the face. No matter which type is chosen, the mask will allow higher rates of flow and concentration of oxygen. Some of them may also have side ports to prevent external air from entering. They will also have a soft plastic bag to store exhaled air letting the rest to escape through the side.
Cannulas are best in cases where the patient is stable and needs a low concentration and low flow to deliver oxygen. These devices are used when the delivery of oxygen is needed in a variable manner. The oxygen inspiration in the case of cannulas will rely on the breathing rate and pattern of the patient. That’s why, they are not deemed fit for use when there is a requirement of controlled oxygen therapy.
Which means, a nasal cannula is fit in cases where patients retain carbon dioxide. They can maintain a concentration level of 24- minute. They are however undoubtedly the favorable choice in cases where patients want to eat, drink or talk easily despite suffering from respiratory problem. Furthermore, the risk of carbon dioxide rebreathing is significantly reduced.