Proper application of nasal cannula

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    When applying a nasal cannula, the curved part that goes in the nose, are the holes turned up towards bridge of nose, or down? I've seen several different nurses/aides do it both ways. I was wondering if there is a correct way to have the holes facing to deliver the oxygen effectivley.
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  4. 0
    I was curious, so I just checked in my nursing skills book. It doesn't specificy which way is "correct". I always apply them with the holes towards the bridge of the nose.
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    Had a patient one night asleep with the canula on the bridge of his nose, satting 96%. Since he clearly didn't need it, I took it off, and sats promptly dropped to 92%. Put it back, back up to 96. I guess he was absorbing it through his eyes. (True story.)

    Ideally, though, the canula goes in the nares with the curve down, for comfort.
    I don't think it matters much for absorption. But a patient with a heavy moustache may actually be more comfortable with it reversed, as my Dad was. I've also seen the little curved parts clipped short, so they don't actually go into the nares, and the O2 still gets where it's needed.
    JudyGrimes, Jessy_RN, justiceforjoy, and 1 other like this.
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    Usually, in the nostrils.
    If they can't tolerate it, in the mouth (if they can) this is usually for the young ones on narcs/post op.
    If they can't tolerate that, a "blowby"...

    This is for generally healthy adults with no/minimal co-morbids.
  7. 0
    Quote from sstutzlpn
    When applying a nasal cannula, the curved part that goes in the nose, are the holes turned up towards bridge of nose, or down? I've seen several different nurses/aides do it both ways. I was wondering if there is a correct way to have the holes facing to deliver the oxygen effectivley.
    I think curved down is the proper way, but I have had several disoriented pts end up with it in their mouth. They would be Satting just fine, but I would remove it, put it in the nare and then they would pull it out and throw it off, Sats alarm would go off, where it had been fine in the mouth. Since then I have allowed people complaining of a sore nose or who just didn't like it in the nose to wear it on the upper lip or in the mouth. It works just fine. Thank goodness that is one piece of equipment which works more often than not, lol!

    Mahage
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    Thanks everyone for the help!!
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    I've had my end stage copd patients that put the cannula in their mouth when they are feeling more short of breath. They swear it works better. Otherwise in the nares....curved down.
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    When I was in nursing school, we were taught that if someone had a clogged nose, we should put the NC on the upper lip, with the prong things kind of wrapped around the top of the lip so air would go into the mouth rather than into the nares. Otherwise, the prongs go down, into the nares, or you're drying out the up-side of the nares rather than sending the oxygen into the respiratory system.
    Last edit by Whispera on Oct 18, '09
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    no the curves go down so the openings go down towards the respiratory tract. I have then seen the tubing go behind the ears and down under the chin. not tightly or they will feel like choking. I have also seen the tubing put on top of the head. I always placed under the chin. just be sure it is all centered well so as to deliver correctly and be comfortable. some places also have foam t cushion around the ears, and if using a long time it can also be humidified and should be if an infant or child.
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    Oh..by the way, nursing takes creativity, sometimes you place it on patients however they like it and however it works....

    There is never one and only way...
    sstutzlpn, catshowlady, ACRN06, and 2 others like this.


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