KEY LEARNING POINTS
- A thorough examination of the respiratory system will provide the
diagnosis in most cases.
- Pulse oximetry, arterial blood gas sampling, chest X-rays and
peak flow measurements are helpful tools.
- All critically ill patients should initially receive high flow oxygen (15 L/min Oxygen through a reservoir mask).
- Target oxygen saturations should be maintained using appropriate delivery devices, aiming for target saturations of 94-98% under normal circumtances or 88-92% in patients with chronically elevated partial pressure of carbon dioxide (e.g. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) who rely on hypoxic drive to maintain adequate ventilation.