Respiratory Therapist/oxygen


i have copd  had for 10 years i only take 2% oxygen my sister says that is not bad that i breath 98% of my own i need my oxygen i cant go without so is this really low amount

Hi Copper light,

The air you and I breathe contains a little bit less than 21% oxygen but of course this oxygen is extremely important. The oxygen you get through your cannula is 100% oxygen.The oxygen from your cannula and the oxygen from the air you breathe mix in your lungs to produce the final concentration. For each liter of oxygen you get through your cannula the total percentage of oxygen you breathe increases by 3-4%. For instance, if you use a nasal cannula with an oxygen flow of 1 liter per minute then you are getting roughly a total of 24% oxygen (the oxygen in the air, 21%, plus three percent oxygen from the 1 liter per minute are added) and if the flow of oxygen is 2 liters per minute the oxygen is approximately 28% oxygen in your lungs, 3 liters per minte gives 32% etc. (add 4% for each liter per minute increase). So at 1 to 2 liters per minute you would get 3 - 7% extra oxygen from your cannula which, in general, is considered low but some people with COPD are less tolerant of oxygen than others. That is why it is important not to increase your prescribed liter flow without consulting your doctor first. Most COPD patients that I work with, that must use oxygen continuously or intermittently, generally use 2 liters or less per minute. It is best to use the lowest liter flow necessary. If you are actually getting only 2% extra oxygen, as you said, then your liter flow must be less than 1 liter per minute which is very low . I am sure you probably have had blood gases done to check your oxygen level in your blood as well as your carbon dioxide and pH. These values give your doctor valuable information about the function of your lungs and may have been used initially to determine the best range for you to use.

Just be sure not to increase your oxygen flow above that prescribed without talking to your doctor first because it could be harmful.

Please take good care of yourself.  

Respiratory Therapist

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Stephanie Tyrrell


Respiratory Therapy is a very diverse field encompassing many specialty areas. I have experience in many of these areas and I am willing to answer any question I feel competent to answer within the scope of my experience in the following areas: neonatal ICU and transport, pulmonary rehabilitation, sleep studies, BiPAP/CPAP therapy, Holter monitoring, EKG, ventilator management, chronic and acute respiratory diseases,(i.e. COPD, asthma, restrictive disease, ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome), pneumonia, etc) and therapeutics, arterial blood gases, and others. Please see my profile under Experience for a full listing of areas of experience.


I have worked in respiratory therapy for over 25 years in all facets of patient care including level 4 neonatal ICU and neonatal transport, Director of Cardiopulmonary, community health fairs and networking, staff therapist, pulmonary rehabilitation, sleep studies and BiPAP/CPAP therapy, Holter monitoring, EKG, cardiac clinics, pre and post cardiac surgery education and patient care, emergency and long-term ventilator management, chronic diseases such as COPD, asthma, cystic fibrosis; acute respiratory distress syndrome, emergency room, home and nursing home respiratory care. I also provided temporary staff to area hospitals through an allied health business I owned and managed, while also working as a staff therapist for the business.

Certified Respiratory Therapist, Registered Respiratory Therapist, Licensed RT, NRP ((Neonatal Resuscitation Program) certified, BS Biology/Botany, MS Environmental Sciences - Toxicology

Past/Present Clients
Thousands of in-patient and out-patient clients in the hospitals I was/am employed by as well as a number of local hospitals that utilized the services of my allied health business. I currently work as a respiratory therapist at a general hospital and a rehabilitation hospital.

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