Laura Witte, PhD, PA-C
High-flow oxygen therapy is a safe and effective treatment for hypoxic chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The current standard of care for hypercapnic COPD is noninvasive ventilator (NIV) therapy. A significant percentage of patients are not able to tolerate NIV due to discomfort with the mask. High-flow oxygen is emerging as a very effective alternative and is much better tolerated due to the delivery of oxygen through a flexible nasal cannula and the addition of warmed, humidified air. Historically, there has been concern that high-flow nasal cannula (HFNC) would worsen hypercapnia. Still, initial research has found high-flow oxygen to be a safe and effective alternative to NIV in hypercapnic COPD. More research is needed to determine the optimal high-flow oxygen settings, patient selection, safety in acute and chronic patients, and the most appropriate patient care settings.
Knechtel D. High Flow Oxygen Therapy in Hypercapnic Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. Lynchburg Journal of Medical Science. 2023; 5(1).
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