Nasal cannulas are traditionally placed inside the nares, possibly causing mild discomfort but allowing the necessary oxygen to freely flow directly into the body through the nose. However, patients have found new and clever ways to wear their nasal cannulas: as headbands, necklaces, or even one-sided earrings.
Given the increase in patients’ demands to wear nasal cannulas in the most creative and ineffective way possible, nurses Erin Rose and Kerry Ryan decided to conduct their own study to determine the best way for patients to wear nasal cannulas.
“We see patients everyday who prefer to wear their oxygen differently and the most popular choice is as a headband,” reports Ryan. “We wanted to see which method would work best to help patients receive oxygen.”
Rose on the other hand, has a more honest opinion of the study: “Quite frankly I don’t understand why I have to explain to my patients that you don’t get oxygen if the cannula is not in your nose. So maybe if this is backed by science I’ll get my patients to see the light.”
The study included 10 patients who required oxygen administration in order to stay alive and each patient required a nasal cannula to receive oxygen. The study found that in all 10 patients, the most effective way to wear the nasal cannula is in the nostrils. Headbands caused a decrease in oxygen saturation to 80% and lower, while other methods caused similar results. Shocking results indeed.
“Could nasal mean it belongs in the nose?” asked Rose, shaking her head. “Mystery solved.”