Oxygen is considered a drug and a physician’s order is typically required for its use. When oxygen is prescribed for use, it may be prescribed as liters per minute (LPM) or a percentage.
CT Technologists must not remove oxygen from a patient unless approval has been granted from a nurse, respiratory therapist, or the patient’s care provider.
Oxygen can be stored in liquid or gas form.
In the exam room, oxygen can be accessed through either a wall mounted access, or the oxygen tank the patient brought with them.
When oxygen is in the liquid form, it is easier to transport and is stored in small tanks.
The rate at which oxygen is administered is monitored through an oxygen flow meter. The flow meter is usually connected directly to the oxygen tank, or the wall mounted access. Oxygen can be administered to the patient in multiple ways:
Nasal Cannula- administered at a rate of 1-5LPM.
Oxygen Mask- administered at a rate of 6LPM or more.
Ventilator- when patients do not have a sufficient airway, or are unable to maintain adequate oxygenation of cells, the patient may require a mechanical ventilator to assist them to breathe.
Ensure appropriate volume of oxygen is administered at a steady rate and pressure.
Ensure that oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged through an airway (such as endotracheal or tracheostomy tube).
CT Technologists should take great care to ensure they do not interfere with the operation of a mechanical ventilator. If an issue arises with the ventilator, an alarm may sound on the ventilator. At which point the CT Technologists should notify the nurse, respiratory therapist, or care provider of the issue.
Lack of enough oxygen may result in either hypoxemia or hypoxia.
Hypoxemia is a condition in which there is insufficient oxygen in the arterial blood.
Hypoxia is a condition in which there is insufficient oxygen levels in the tissues.
Individuals suffering from hypoxia may experience:
If the hypoxia is localized, it may result in pain, cyanosis, and cell death.
A chest tube may be placed in a patient to drain fluid from the intrapleural space. When fluid collection forms in the lungs or a pneumothorax is present, a chest tube can be used to restore appropriate intrapleural pressure.
In-dwelling catheters are used to imitate a certain function within a patient.
In the bladder, an in-dwelling catheter is inserted to drain urine. This process is known as urinary catheterization.
A urinary catheter (Foley) has an inflated balloon that holds it in place for a longer period of time.
A straight catheter does not have a balloon and is for temporary use.
In-dwelling catheters must not be disrupted by the CT Technologist during the exam. The drainage bag must be kept below the level of the patient to prevent the backflow of urine.