Possible Problems



Being On Oxygen


What is a normal blood oxygen level?

Oxygen levels are commonly measured by two techniques. The first is a blood gas in which a blood sample is taken directly from an artery. This is the most accurate assessment of oxygen. The normal oxygen level using this technique is 80-100 (mmHg). The second technique is bloodless [and painless] and is called pulse oximetry. The result here is not a direct measurement of oxygen but rather represents the percentage of hemoglobin that is saturated with oxygen. Hemoglobin is a protein in the blood that carries oxygen to the tissues. A light sensor is used which is commonly placed on a fingertip. Pulse oximetry is not as accurate as a blood gas and can be influenced by temperature and circulation. The normal oxygen saturation is 95-100%.

Thank you to Breathing Better, Living Well for this information. More information can be found on their website at: http://breathingbetterlivingwell.com/basics/oxygenqa.php

As a laryngectomy we have special needs in the use of oxygen. A pediatric mask works well to fit under the neck to provide oxygen. Another option if you use an HME is one with a built in port for oxygen. These are available from Boston Medical at the following site:

More information on Boston Medical can be found in our supplier section:


An issue just came up with one of our group, when she had to be transported via aid car to the hospital. They did not have a trach mask nor an adapter to connect the oxygen tubing to a mask. They had to get one through the repertory department at the hospital but of course that was way after the need. I did some research and found they can be ordered on line. It is a trach mask with the oxygen adapter included available at Walgreens on line order (only) for $2.99 each. Here is a link to the information:

It might be worth having one on hand in case of emergencies.

Ron Mattoon

2010 Seattle, WA.


If you have questions about your own oxygen needs, your doctor should be your guide.




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