What is High Flow Oxygen Therapy?

February 8, 2023
What is High Flow  Oxygen Therapy?What is High Flow  Oxygen Therapy?

What is High Flow Oxygen Therapy? 

High flow oxygen therapy is the advanced choice for managing a severe respiratory condition where a low flow oxygen option is not enough. Low flow oxygen therapy is the first step, which may not be sufficient in some cases. High flow oxygen therapy increases the flow to help patients breathe comfortably on a day-to-day basis. 

The Importance of High Flow Oxygen 

High flow oxygen is useful to patients who experience excess fluids in their respiratory tract. High flow oxygen can clear these fluids. High flow oxygen therapy also reduces airway inflammation and can be more convenient for some patients who want to eat and drink and communicate during their oxygen therapy.  

What Difference Does High Flow Oxygen Make? 

High flow oxygen therapy increases the humidification of the oxygen flow, which benefits many types of patients with severe respiratory conditions. More humidity helps prevent dryness in the throat and mouth for some patients. High flow oxygen may be necessary for oxygen flow to help with healthy blood oxygen levels. In some instances, oxygenation in the blood cannot be reached with low flow oxygen delivery. High oxygen therapy can enhance those oxygen blood levels.  

What Are The Risks Of Having High Flow Oxygen Therapy? 

High flow oxygen therapy has its risks. Too much pure oxygen can lead to side effects. Dizziness, blurred vision, bloody nose and sinus problems are all consequences of excess pure oxygen. Doctors need to monitor high flow oxygen carefully, including oxygen saturation levels in the blood to prevent oxygen poisoning.   

How Do I Prepare For High Flow Oxygen Therapy? 

High flow oxygen therapy is always an option when low flow oxygen therapy is not raising blood oxygenation to the proper levels. There is no preparation on the part of the patient when a doctor decides to select this therapy. Doctors may evaluate the patient condition more thoroughly before starting high flow oxygen therapy. They may use x-rays to view the condition of the patient’s lungs and blood tests to check oxygenation in the blood.  

Because of the risks associated with high flow oxygen therapy, doctors will monitor a patient’s condition very closely to ensure that oxygen poisoning does not occur.  

What Happens During High Flow Oxygen Therapy? 

During high flow oxygen therapy, you will breathe through nasal prongs as you sit upright in bed. You will feel a warm sensation as you breathe the high flow oxygen, and it inflates your lungs. Doctors will set the flow setting of the oxygen depending on your respiratory condition.  

What Happens After High Flow Oxygen Therapy? 

As your oxygen therapy is monitored closely by doctors, they may reduce the flow setting on your high oxygen flow therapy, which means your respiratory condition may be improving.  

At some point, doctors may transition you to low flow oxygen therapy if you were using that previously to manage your respiratory condition. In some instances, you may no longer need oxygen therapy at all.   

The goal by most medical teams is to get patients off of high flow oxygen therapy. Because of the risks of oxygen poisoning most doctors prefer patients use lower flow therapies to manage a respiratory condition. Most high flow situations are short term until blood oxygen levels return to normal.  

High Flow Oxygen Devices and Equipment 

All high flow oxygen devices and equipment provide pure oxygen that is warmed and humidified. High flow oxygen devices also use nasal prongs for delivering the flow.  In some instances, a patient may need high flow away from a medical setting and a high flow oxygen concentrator can be provided for  home use.  

Best High Flow Oxygen Nasal Cannulas 

The best high flow oxygen nasal cannulas are comfortable to wear in the nostrils for long periods of time. Longer cannulas allow more flexibility of movement by the user. Most high flow oxygen cannulas are designed to manage high flow so they may be different than a standard nasal cannula for your home or portable oxygen concentrator.  

Where Can I Buy High Flow Oxygen Concentrators and Supplies? 

You can find high flow oxygen concentrators and supplies at most medical stores. You can also shop online, which allows you to stay at home and compare products side by side. The product you choose can be shipped to your home promptly. Visit The Oxygen Concentrator Supplies Shop for expert help selecting the best high flow oxygen concentrator equipment for your needs.  

Chris Vasta

Chris Vasta is the president of The CPAP Shop and an expert in sleep and respiratory therapy. He often provides insights on product design and functionality on various manufacturers’ prototypes and is frequently tapped to provide reviews on new releases.