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Research finds more comfortable way to deliver oxygen after surgery

The new method of oxygen delivery is more comfortable for patients, easier for medical professionals and carries a success rate similar to that of more traditionally used methods.

By Stephen Feller
Research finds more comfortable way to deliver oxygen after surgery
Doctors now have another option to deliver oxygen to patients who are at risk of respiratory failure after surgery. Photo by Chubykin Arkady/Shutterstock

DENVER, May 18 (UPI) -- Doctors may now have an easier option to deliver oxygen to patients at risk of respiratory failure following surgery.

Respiratory failure is common following cardiothoracic surgeries. When low-flow oxygen therapy is found to not work for patients, traditionally doctors will reinsert a breathing tube. Delivering high-flow oxygen nasally was shown to have at roughly the same level of success, according to a new study, but it is easier to provide and more comfortable to use.

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The research is being presented at the American Thoracic Society International's annual meeting in Denver.

With traditional noninvasive ventilation, a mask is strapped to a patient's head and, if properly sealed, oxygen is delivered. With nasal delivery, oxygen is delivered straight to the nostrils, and at a high flow to overpower the inhalation of mixed air in a hospital room.

Unlike many studies, where the goal is to find superior results for common methods, this study sought to show one was not worse than the other, according to a companion editorial published with the study in Journal of the American Medial Association.

"Noninferiority trials make intuitive sense when considering new treatments that may be more comfortable and more feasible or have fewer complications, yet yield similar findings for the primary outcome," wrote Dr. Lorenzo Del Sorbo and Dr. Niall D. Ferguson in the editorial.

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Since the study found that both treatments have similar results, Del Sorbo and Ferguson refer to the newer method as another useful option, however, "as usual, it depends" on the situation of the individual patient and the facility where the patient is being treated.

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