Oxygen therapy

Oxygen therapy means using an oxygen tank or a machine to breathe in air that contains more oxygen than normal.

Oxygen therapy increases the amount of oxygen in the lungs and the bloodstream. A person with a health problem such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may need oxygen therapy if there is an indication that the cells of the body are not getting enough oxygen.

Oxygen therapy may be given by different methods, including a:

  • Tube placed under a person's nose (nasal cannula).
  • Plastic cup placed over a person's mouth and nose (oxygen face mask).
  • Tube (endotracheal tube) placed into the mouth and down the windpipe of a person who cannot breathe independently. The tube is attached to a machine (ventilator) that breathes for the person.

Last Updated: May 8, 2008

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS & Cynthia Tank

Medical Review: Caroline S. Rhoads, MD - Internal Medicine & Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.