Clinical Guidelines (Nursing)

Oxygen delivery

  • Note: This guideline is currently under review. 


    Definition of terms

    Normal values

    Indications for oxygen delivery

    Nurse initiated oxygen

    Patient assessment and documentation

    Selecting the delivery method

    Low flow delivery method

    High flow delivery method

    Air entrainment devices


    Delivery mode


    Links to related guidelines

    Appendix A - Paediatric sizing guides for nasal prongs

    Evidence Table (coming soon)




    The goal of oxygen delivery is to maintain targeted SpO2 levels in children through the provision of supplemental oxygen in a safe and effective way which is tolerated by infants and children to:

    • Relieve hypoxaemia and maintain adequate oxygenation of tissues and vital organs, as assessed by SpO2 /SaO2 monitoring and clinical signs.
    • Give oxygen therapy in a way which prevents excessive CO2 accumulation - i.e. selection of the appropriate flow rate and delivery device.
    • Reduce the work of breathing.
    • Maintain efficient and economical use of oxygen.
    • Ensure adequate clearance of secretions and limit the adverse events of hypothermia and insensible water loss by use of optimal humidification (dependant on mode of oxygen delivery.)

    Definition of terms

    • FiO2: Fraction of inspired oxygen (%).
    • PaCO2: The partial pressure of CO2 in the blood. It is used to assess the adequacy of ventilation.
    • PaO2: The partial pressure of oxygen in the blood. It is used to assess the adequacy of oxygenation.
    • SaO2: Arterial oxygen saturation measured from blood specimen.
    • SpO2: Arterial oxygen saturation measured via pulse oximetry.
    • Air entrainment device (venturi principle): Allows air to be incorporated in to the oxygen/ humidification circuit, resulting in an accurate percentage of oxygen being delivered to the patient. This results in an increased flow volume to the patient, up to 45 LPM. Where the total flow delivered to the patient meets or exceeds their Peak Inspiratory Flow Rate the FiO2 delivered to the patient will be accurate.
    • Heat Moisture Exchange (HME) product: are devices that retain heat and moisture minimizing moisture loss to the patient airway.
    • High flow: High flow systems are specific devices that deliver the patient's entire ventilatory demand (minute volume.) High flow in approved areas only. Consult your NUM if unsure.
    • Humidification is the addition of heat and moisture to a gas. The amount of water vapor that a gas can carry increases with temperature.
    • Hypercapnea: Increased amounts of carbon dioxide in the blood.
    • Hypoxaemia: Low arterial oxygen tension (in the blood.)
    • Hypoxia: Low oxygen level at the tissues.
    • Low flow: Low flow systems are specific devices that do not provide the patient's entire ventilatory requirements.
    • Minute ventilation: The total amount of gas moving into and out of the lungs per minute. The minute ventilation (volume) is calculated by multiplying the tidal volume by the respiration rate, measured in litres per minute.
    • Peak Inspiratory Flow Rate (PIFR): The fastest flow rate of air during inspiration, measured in litres per second.
    • Tidal Volume: The amount of gas that moves in, and out, of the lungs with each breath, measured in millilitres (6-10 ml/kg).
    • Ventilation - Perfusion (VQ) mismatch: An imbalance between alveolar ventilation and pulmonary capillary blood flow.


    Normal Values

    • Partial pressure of arterial oxygen (PaO2)
      • 80 -100 mmHg - children/adults
      • 50 - 80 mmHg - neonates
    • Partial pressure of arterial CO2 (PaCO2)
      • 35 - 45 mmHg children/adults
    • pH = 7.35 -7.45
    • SpO2

    NB: The above values are genearlised to the paediatric population, for age specific ranges please consult CLARA and/or the medical team.

    The above values are expected target ranges. Any deviation should be documented on the observation chart as MET modifications. 

    Indications for oxygen delivery

    • The treatment of documented hypoxia/hypoxaemia as determined by SpO2 or inadequate blood oxygen tensions (PaO2).
    • Achieving targeted percentage of oxygen saturation (as per normal values unless a different target range is specified on the observation chart.)
    • The treatment of an acute or emergency situation where hypoxaemia or hypoxia is suspected, and if the child is in respiratory distress manifested by:
      • dyspnoea, tachypnoea, bradypnoea, apnoea
      • pallor, cyanosis
      • lethargy or restlessness
      • use of accessory muscles: nasal flaring, intercostal or sternal recession, tracheal tug

    If you require further information please click here for the Assessment of Severe Respiratory Conditions guideline.

    • Short term therapy e.g. post anaesthetic or surgical procedure
    • Palliative care - for comfort

    Oxygen is a drug and requires a medical order. Each episode of oxygen delivery should be ordered on the medication chart either as a one-off order or on-going treatment.

    Nurse initiated oxygen

    • Nurses can initiate oxygen if patients breach expected normal parameters of oxygen saturation
    • A medical review is required within 30 minutes
    • At the time of the medical review a prescription for oxygen should be written


    Patient assessment and documentation

    • Clinical assessment and documentation including but not limited to: cardiovascular, respiratory and neurological systems should be done at the commencement of each shift and with any change in patient condition.
    • Check and document oxygen equipment set up at the commencement of each shift and with any change in patient condition.
    • Hourly checks should be made for the following:
      • oxygen flow rate
      • patency of tubing
      • humidifier settings (if being used)
    • Hourly checks should be made and recorded on the patient observation chart for the following (unless otherwise directed by the treating medical team):
      • heart rate
      • respiratory rate
      • work of breathing (descriptive assessment - i.e. use of accessory muscles/nasal flaring)
      • oxygen saturation
    • Ensure the individual MET criteria are observed regardless of oxygen requirements
    • Clinical Guidelines (Nursing): Nursing Assessment


    Selecting the delivery method

    A range of flow meters are available at RCH (0-1 LPM, 0-2.5 LPM, 0-15 LPM, 0-50 LPM – (PICU only). Check on the individual flow meter for where to read the ball (i.e. centre or top of ball), or dial (Perflow brand of flow meters) when setting the flow rate.

    Note: Some flow meters may deliver greater than the maximum flow indicated on the flow meter if the ball is set above the highest amount. Use caution when adjusting the flow meter.


    Oxygen delivery method selected depends on:

    • age of the patient
    • oxygen requirements/therapeutic goals
    • patient tolerance to selected interface
    • humidification needs

    Note: Oxygen therapy should not be delayed in the treatment of life threatening hypoxia.


    Low flow delivery method

    Low-flow systems include:

    • Simple face mask (without air entrainment device)
    • Non re-breather face mask (mask with oxygen reservoir bag and one-way valves which aims to prevent/reduce room air entrainment)
    • Nasal prongs (low flow)
    • Tracheostomy mask (without air entrainment device)
    • Tracheostomy HME connector
    • Isolette - neonates (usually for use in the Neonatal Unit only)

    Note: In low flow systems the flow is usually titrated (on the flow meter) and recorded in litres per minute (LPM).

    High flow delivery method

    High flow systems include:

    • Ventilators
    • CPAP/BiPaP drivers
    • Face mask or tracheostomy mask used in conjunction with an entrainment device or AIRVO 2 Humidifier
    • High flow nasal prongs (HFNP)


    Air entrainment devices

    When using an air entrainment device it is important that:

    • Oxygen must be humidified and warmed (MR850 Humidifier set on Non-Invasive Mode) as compressed gas is drying and may damage the tracheal mucosa.
    • To achieve the desired FiO2 use the diagram below. This table advises the appropriate air entrainment position for desired FiO2 the oxygen flow rate and total flow that will be delivered to patient when these settings are utilized. To ensure the patient is breathing the FiO2 that the device is delivering the total flow should equal or exceed the patient’s Peak Inspiratory Flow Rate. This is not really measureable but is at least 3 to 4 times the patient’s minute ventilation.
    • Note: Air entrainment devices are not effective for delivering FiO2 greater than 50%


    • Document the FiO2 as indicated on air entrainment device & total flow as per Air Entrainer chart below and wall O2 flowmeter flow.

    Air Entrainer: %O2 to recommended oxygen flow guide

    2013 Air Entrainer


    Oxygen therapy can be delivered using a low flow or high flow system. All high flow systems require humidification. The type of humidification device selected will depend on the oxygen delivery system in use, and the patient's requirements. The humidifier should always be placed at a level below the patient's head.


    • Cold, dry air increases heat and fluid loss
    • Medical gases including air and oxygen have a drying effect and mucous membranes become dry resulting in airway damage.
    • Secretions can become thick & difficult to clear or cause airway obstruction
    • In some conditions e.g. asthma, the hyperventilation of dry gases can compound bronchoconstriction.


    • Patients with thick copious secretions
    • Non-invasive and invasive ventilation
    • Nasal prong flow rates of greater than 2 LPM (under 2 years of age) or 4 LPM (over 2 years of age)
    • Facial mask flow rates of greater than 5 LPM
    • Patients with tracheostomy

    RCH predominantly uses the Fisher & Paykel MR850 Humidifier & AIRVO 2 Humidifier. Please consult user manuals for any other models in use.

    Fisher & Paykel MR 850 Humidifier

     Follow instructions in the MR850 User Manual in conjunction with this Guideline
    Has two modes:

    • Invasive Mode - delivers saturated gas as close to body temperature (37 degrees, 44mg/L) as possible.
      • Suitable for patients with bypassed airways:
        • Invasive Ventilation
        • Tracheostomy attachment or mask
        • Nasal Prongs
    • Non-Invasive Mode – delivers gas at a comfortable level of humidity (31-36 degrees, >10mg/L).
      Suitable for patients receiving:
      • Face mask therapy:
      • Non-invasive ventilation (CPAP/BIPAP)
      • Nebuliser mask (with RT308 circuit)

    AIRVO 2 Humidifier

    Follow instructions in the AIRVO 2 User Manual in conjunction with this Guideline.
    Has two modes:

    • Junior Mode
      • Suitable for patients using Optiflow Junior Infant and Paediatric Nasal Prongs
    • Standard Mode
      • Suitable for patients using:
        • Optiflow adult nasal prongs
        • Nebuliser mask (via Mask Interface Adaptor)
        • Tracheostomy mask (via Mask Interface Adaptor)
        • Tracheostomy direct connection

    Link to: Optiflow Nasal Prong Flow Rate Guide

    WARNING:  Do not cover Airvo breathing circuit with linen, or use on a patient in an isolette or overhead heater cot (see User Manual)  

    The AIRVO 2 Humidifier requires cleaning and disinfection between patients.

    Follow the instructions in the disinfection kit manual:

    2013 Cleaning Airvo


    For routine cleaning instructions please refer to the following link: RCH Equipment Cleaning Table Prepared by Infection Prevention and Control Team

     When commencing therapy on a new patient, ensure the disinfection cycle was performed. On device start up, a green traffic light confirms the AIRVO 2 is safe for use on a new patient. An orange traffic light confirms the AIRVO 2 has not been cleaned and disinfected since last use, and is not safe for use on a new patient.

    2013 Airvo2 Stop Sign  

    Delivery Mode

    Click to view the delivery mode quick reference table

    Simple Nasal Prongs

    Nasal prongs without humidification

    This system is simple and convenient to use. It allows the oxygen therapy to continue during feeding/eating and the re-breathing of CO2 isn't a potential complication.
    Simple nasal prongs are available in different sizes To ensure the patient is able to entrain room air around the nasal prongs and a complete seal is not created the prong size should be approximately half the diameter of the nares. Select the appropriate size nasal prong for the patient's age and size.

    Note: Do not use air entrainment device with simple nasal prongs.

    A maximum flow of:

    • 2 LPM in infants/children under 2 years of age
    • 4 LPM for children over 2 years of age.

    With the above flow rates humidification is not usually required. However, if humidification is clinically indicated - set up as per the recommended guidelines for the specific equipment used. As with the other delivery systems the inspired FiO2 depends on the flow rate of oxygen and varies according to the patient's minute ventilation.

    Care and considerations of child with simple nasal prongs:

    • Position the nasal prongs along the patient's cheek and secure the nasal prongs on the patient's face with adhesive tape.
    • Position the tubing over the ears and secure behind the patient's head. Ensure straps and tubing are away from the patient's neck to prevent risk of airway obstruction.
    • Check nasal prong and tubing for patency, kinks or twists at any point in the tubing and clear or change prongs if necessary.
    • Check nares for patency - clear with suction as required.
    • Change the adhesive tape weekly or more frequently as required

    Nasal prongs with humidification system

    If the flow rate exceeds those as recommended above this may result in nasal discomfort and irritation of the mucous membranes. Therefore, humidification of nasal prong oxygen therapy is recommended.

    Note: Do not use air entrainment device with simple nasal prongs

    Humidification can be provided using either the MR850 Humidifier or the AIRVO 2 Humidifier. Follow the manufacturer's Instructions for Use for each device and setup.


    Optiflow Nasal Prongs Humidification using MR850 Humidifier

    Optiflow nasal prongs are compatible for use in humidified low or high flow oxygen delivery.

    Note: MR850 Humidifier should be placed in Invasive Mode for Nasal Prongs Therapy.

    See guides below for recommended patient sizing and flow rates.

    Fisher and Paykel Optiflow nasal cannula junior range
    Four sizes of prongs:

    • Premature
    • Neonate
    • Infant
    • Paediatric

    2013 Baby

    See Appendix A for further information regarding appropriate junior range sizing: Fisher and Paykel Optiflow junior range sizing guide

    Fisher and Paykel Optiflow nasal cannula standard range

    Three sizes of prongs

    • Small
    • Medium
    • Large

    Paediatric Patients

    (RT330 circuit - click here for instructions for use)

    • High flow (in approved areas only, see relevant guidelines)
    • Flow of 2 L/kg/min up to 10kg, plus 0.5 L/kg/min for each kg above 10kg (to a maximum of 50 LPM)
    • FiO2 21-50% (blender must be used)
    • FiO2 above 50% requires PICU review

    The main safety feature of the RT330 Oxygen Therapy System is the pressure relief valve. The pressure relief valve has been set to a limit of < 40 cm H20. This valve has been designed to minimize the risk of excessive pressure being delivered to the infant in the event that the nasal prongs seal around the infant's nares while the mouth is closed.

    The image below is of the RT330 circuit.

    Nursing CPG Oxygen Delivery RT330 circuit


    Below is an image of the RT330 pressure relief valve.

    Nursing guidelines Oxygen Delivery RT330 Pressure Relief Valve

    Older children and adolescent patients

    (RT203 Circuit and O2 stem - click here for instructions for use)

    • 3 sizes of prongs:
      • Small
      • Medium
      • Large
    • Low flow, a maximum of:
      • 4 LPM for children over 2 years of age
      • FiO2 21-100% (direct from O2 wall source or via a blender)
    • High flow (in approved areas only, see relevant recommendations above)
      • Flow of 2L/kg/min up to 10kg, plus 0.5L/kg/min for each kg above 10kg (to a maximum of 50LPM)
      • FiO2 above 50% requires PICU review

    Optiflow Nasal Prongs Humidification using AIRVO 2 Humidifier

    The AIRVO 2 Humidifier has two modes:

    • Junior Mode
    • Standard Mode

    Junior Mode

    • Suitable for patients using the Optiflow Junior Nasal Prongs
      • Two sizes of Optiflow Junior nasal prongs suitable for use with AIRVO 2 Humidifier
        • Optiflow Junior Infant
        • Optiflow Junior Paediatric
      • FiO2 21-95%
    • High Flow (in approved areas only, see relevant guideline)
      • Flow of 2L/kg/min up to 10kg, plus 0.5L/kg/min for each kg above 10kg (to a maximum of 50 LPM)
      • FiO2 21-50%
      • Patients requiring FiO2 > 50% require a medical review and close monitoring. Consider PICU transfer if after one hour no clinical improvement has occurred
        Fisher and Paykel Optiflow nasal cannula junior range for AIRVO 2


    Below is an image of the Fisher and Paykel Optiflow nasal cannula junior range for AIRVO 2

    2013 Baby2

    Standard Mode

    • Three sizes of Optiflow nasal prongs suitable for use with AIRVO 2 Humidifer (click here for: Fisher and Paykel Optiflow (adult) nasal cannula standard range guide)
      • Small
      • Medium
      • Large
    • High Flow (in approved areas only)
      • Flow of 2L/kg/min up to 10kg, plus 0.5L/kg/min for each kg above 10kg (to a maximum of 50 LPM)
      • FiO2 21-50%
      • Patients requiring FiO2 > 50% require a medical review and close monitoring. Consider PICU transfer if after one hour no clinical improvement has occurred

    FP Optiflow Nasal

    Optiflow Nasal Prong junior and standard humidification and flow rate guide for Airvo.



    Face Mask

    Click to view the delivery mode quick reference table

    Simple Face Mask

    The FiO2 inspired will vary depending on the patient's inspiratory flow, mask fit/size and patient's respiratory rate. At RCH both simple face masks (in various sizes) and tracheostomy masks are available.

    The minimum flow rate through any face mask or tracheostomy mask is 4 LPM as this prevents the possibility of CO2 accumulation, CO2 re-breathing and drowsiness. Select a mask which best fits from the child's bridge of nose to the cleft of jaw, and adjust the nose clip and head strap to secure in place.

    Oxygen (via intact upper airway) via a simple face mask at flow rates of 4LPM does not require routine humidification. However, as compressed gas is drying and may damage the tracheal mucosa humidification might be indicated/appropriate for patients with secretions retention, or discomfort. Additionally in some conditions (eg. Asthma), the inhalation of dry gases can compound bronchoconstriction.

    Nebuliser mask

    Nebuliser mask or tracheostomy mask in conjunction with a humidification system
    A nebuliser mask or tracheostomy mask with an air entrainment device is intended for use with a MR850 Humidifier). By entraining room air into the delivery system, the total gas flow to the patient can be increased up to approximately 45 LPM. When the instructions on the air entrainment device are followed, it is possible to deliver a specific FiO2. This system is useful in accurately delivering low concentrations of oxygen (28-50%).

    A nebuliser mask or tracheostomy mask with a mask interface adaptor is intended for use with an AIRVO 2 Humidifier. A tracheostomy direct connection may be used with an AIRVO 2 Humidifier. The AIRVO 2 Humidifier flow rate should be set to meet or exceed the patient's entire ventilatory demand, to ensure the desired FiO2 is actually inspired by the patient. This system is useful in accurately delivering concentrations of oxygen (21 – 95%). Patients who require an FiO2 greater than 50% require medical review.
    With both systems, as the gas flow is > 4LPM re-breathing of expired gas is not a potential problem. Therefore this system reduces the risk of carbon dioxide retention.

    NOTE: While a specific FiO2 is delivered to the patient the FiO2 that is actually inspired by the patient (ie what the patient actually receives) varies depending on:

    • flow rate delivered to the patient (see air entrainment device below)
    • mask size and fit
    • the patient's respiratory rate

    Non-rebreathing face mask

    A non-rebreathing face mask is a mask with an oxygen reservoir bag that has a one-way valve system which prevents exhaled gases mixing with fresh gas flow. The non-rebreathing mask system may also have a valve on the side ports of the mask which prevents entrainment of room air into the mask. These masks are not commonly used but a non-rebreathing mask can provide higher concentration of FiO2 (> 60%) than is able to be provided with a standard face mask (which is approximately 40% - 50%)

    Considerations when using a non-rebreathing face mask

    • To ensure the highest concentration of oxygen is delivered to the patient the reservoir bag needs to be inflated prior to placing on the patients face.
    • Ensure the flow rate from the wall to the mask is adequate to maintain a fully inflated reservoir bag during the whole respiratory cycle (i.e. inspiration and expiration).
    • Do not use with humidification system as this can cause excessive 'rain out' in the reservoir bag.
    • Not routinely used outside of ED and PICU and should only be used in consultation with the medical team.


    Click to view the delivery mode quick reference table

    Tracheostomy HME - Heat Moisture Exchanger (Swedish nose filter) with oxygen attachment

    In spontaneously breathing tracheostomy patients who require oxygen flow rates of less than 4 LPM there are two options available:

    • OXY-VENT™ with Tubing: The adaptor sits over the TRACH-VENT™ and the tubing attaches to the oxygen source (flow meter).
    • TRACH-VENT+™: Alternatively a Hudson RCI HME - TRACH-VENT+™ (Swedish nose filter) has an integrated oxygen side port which connects directly to oxygen tubing which is attached to the oxygen source (flow meter).
    • Note: HME are used without a heated humidifier circuit.


    • The Hudson Trach-Vent™ HME has a dead space of 10mL and is recommended for use in patients who have tidal volumes of 50mL and above.
    • Trach-Vent's are changed daily or as required if contaminated or blocked by secretions.


    At the RCH, oxygen therapy via an isolette is usually only for use in the Butterfly neonatal intensive care unit. (See Isolette use in paediatric wards, RCH internal link only.)


    • Oxygen is a drug and use outside of an emergency situation should be prescribed by a medical practitioner
    • Supplemental oxygen relieves hypoxaemia but does not improve ventilation or treat the underlying cause of the hypoxaemia. Monitoring of SpO2 indicates oxygenation not ventilation. Therefore, beware the use of high FiO2 in the presence of reduced minute ventilation.
    • Many children in the recovery phase of acute respiratory illnesses are characterised by ventilation/perfusion mismatch (e.g. asthma, bronchiolitis, and pneumonia) and can be managed with SpO2 in the low 90's as long as they are clinically improving, feeding well and don't have obvious respiratory distress.
    • Normal SpO2 values may be found despite rising blood carbon dioxide levels (hypercapnea). High oxygen concentrations have the potential to mask signs and symptoms of hypercapnea.
    • Oxygen therapy should be closely monitored & assessed at regular intervals
    • Therapeutic procedures & handling may increase the child's oxygen consumption & lead to worsening hypoxaemia
    • Children with cyanotic congenital heart disease normally have SpO2 between 60%- 90% in room air. Increasing SpO2 > 90% with supplemental oxygen is not recommended due to risk of over circulation to the pulmonary system while adversely decreasing systemic circulation. However, in emergency situations with increasing cyanosis supplemental oxygen should be administered to maintain their normal level of SpO2

    Potential complications of oxygen use

    • CO2 Narcosis - This occurs in patients who have chronic respiratory obstruction or respiratory insufficiency which results in them developing hypercapnea (i.e. raised PaCO2). In these patients the respiratory centre relies on hypoxaemia to maintain adequate ventilation. If these patients are given oxygen this can reduce their respiratory drive, causing respiratory depression and a further rise in PaCO2 resulting in increased CO2 levels in the blood and CO2 narcosis.
    • Monitoring of SpO2 or SaO2 informs of oxygenation only. Therefore, beware of the use of high FiO2 in the presence of reduced minute ventilation.
    • Pulmonary Atelectasis
    • Pulmonary oxygen toxicity - High concentrations of oxygen (>60%) may damage the alveolar membrane when inhaled for more than 48 hours resulting in pathological lung changes.
    • Retrolental fibroplasia (also known as retinopathy of prematurity) An alteration of the normal retinal vascular development, mainly affecting premature neonates (<32 weeks gestation or 1250g birthweight), which can lead to visual impairment and blindness.
    • Substernal pain-due: characterised by difficulty in breathing and pain within the chest, occurring when breathing elevated pressures of oxygen for extended periods.

    Oxygen safety

    Oxygen is not a flammable gas but it does support combustion (rapid burning). Due to this the following rules should be followed:

    • Do not smoke in the vicinity of oxygen equipment.
    • Do not use aerosol sprays in the same room as the oxygen equipment.
    • Turn off oxygen immediately when not in use. Oxygen is heavier than air and will pool in fabric making the material more flammable. Therefore, never leave the nasal prongs or mask under or on bed coverings or cushions whilst the oxygen is being supplied.
    • Oxygen cylinders should be secured safely to avoid injury.
    • Do not store oxygen cylinders in hot places.
    • Keep the oxygen equipment out of reach of children.
    • Do not use any petroleum products or petroleum byproducts e.g. petroleum jelly/Vaseline whilst using oxygen.

    Link to related guidelines

    Appendix A - Pediatric sizing guides for nasal prongs

    Fisher and Paykel Optiflow junior range sizing guide
    2013 FP Optiflow Jr


    Evidence Table

    ... coming soon


    Bateman, N.T. & Leach, R.M. (1998). ABC of Oxygen - Acute oxygen therapy. BMJ, September 19; 317(7161): 798-801.

    Dunn, L., & Chisholm, H. (1998). Oxygen Therapy. Nursing Standard, 13(7), 57 - 60.

    Fell, H., & Boehm, M. (1998). Easing the discomfit of oxygen therapy. Nursing Times, 94 (38), 56 - 58.

    Frey, B., & Shann, F. (2003). Oxygen administration in infants. Archives of Disease in Childhood - Fetal and Neonatal Edition, 88, F84 - F88.

    Oh, T.E. (1990). Intensive Care Manual 3rd Edition. Sydney: Butterworths.

    Shann, F., Gatachalian, S., & Hutchinson, R. (1988). Nasopharyngeal oxygen in children. The Lancet. 1238 -1240.

    St. Clair, N., Touch, S. M., & Greenspan, S. (2001) Supplemental Oxygen Delivery to the Nonventilated Neonate. Neonatal Network. 20 (6), 39-45.

    Bersten, A. & Soni, N. (Eds). (2009). Oh's Intensive Care Manual 6th Edition. China: Butterworth Heinemann Elsevier

    Schibler, A., Pham, T.,Dunster, K., Foster, K., Barlow, A., Gibbons, K., and Hough, J. (2011) Reduced intubation rates for infants after introduction of high-flow nasal prong oxygen delivery. Intensive Care Medicine. May;37(5):847-52

    McKieman, C., Chua, L.C., Visintainer, P. and Allen, P. (2010) High Flow Nasal Cannulae Therapy in Infants with Bronchiolitis. Journal of Pediatrics 156:634-38

    Spentzas, T., Minarik, M., Patters, AB., Vinson, B. and Stidham, G. (2009) Children with respiratory distress treated with high-flow nasal cannula. Journal of Intensive Care Medicine. 24(5): 323-8

    Miyamoto, K. & Nishimura, M. "Nasal Dryness Discomfit in Individuals Receiving Dry Oxygen via Nasal cannula" Respiratory Care April (2008) Vol 35 No. 4 503 – 504

    Ricard, J. & Boyer, A. "Humidification during oxygen therapy and non-invasive ventilation: do we need some and how much"? Intensive Care Med (2009) 35: 963-965

    Campbell, E.; Baker, D. & Crites-Silver, P. " Subjective Effects of Humidification of oxygen for delivery by nasal cannula" Chest (1988) Vol 93: 2 289 - 293

    Please remember to read the disclaimer.


    Revision of the Oxygen delivery guideline, origionally published Oct 2012, was coordinated by Sueellan Jones, Respiratory Nurse Consultant, Department of Respiratory Medicine, and Brenda Savill, Nurse Educator, Nursing Education. Approved by the Clinical Effectiveness Committee. Authorised by Bernadette Twomey, Executive Director Nursing Services. Revised guidelines published November 2013.