Oxygen as a Drug

  • Yoo Kuen ChanEmail author


Oxygen is a drug naturally available in the atmosphere. In the acutely ill patient, we administer it either from the environment at 21 % or from stored oxygen sources in higher concentrations. It is administered via nasal prongs, masks or other oxygen delivery and/or ventilator devices. Oxygen is delivered to the tissues by the cardiopulmonary system and is mainly carried by hemoglobin. Under hyperbaric conditions, more oxygen is carried in solution in the blood. Oxygen is necessary for the optimal production of ATP within the cells, which is the source of energy for all cellular function, without which cell death occurs. It is administered whenever tissue oxygen supply may be compromised, such as in low inspired oxygen conditions, poor tissue perfusion states, and inadequate or impaired hemoglobin carrying capacity. Oxygen from hyperbaric sources is used to combat air embolism and also to assist in poorly healing wounds associated with cancer therapy. Hazards of oxygen therapy include retinopathy of prematurity, lung fibrosis and seizures. Oxygen administration areas are also fire risk zones.


Oxygen a drug ATP production Oxygen sources Oxygen therapy Hazards of oxygen 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anesthesiology, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of MalayaKuala LumpurMalaysia

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