Oxygen therapy is the administration of oxygen at concentrations greater than that in room air to treat or prevent hypoxemia (not enough oxygen in the blood). Oxygen delivery systems are classified as stationary, portable, or ambulatory. Oxygen can be administered by nasal cannula, mask, and tent. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves placing the patient in an airtight chamber with oxygen under pressure.
Oxygen therapy is a key treatment in respiratory care. The purpose is to increase oxygen saturation in tissues where the saturation levels are too low due to illness or injury. Breathing prescribed oxygen increases the amount of oxygen in the blood, reduces the extra work of the heart, and decreases shortness of breath.