Why Nitrogen?? Nitrogen makes up a majority of the air we breathe (approximately 78%). By giving a patient 100% Oxygen, you decrease the partial pressure of nitrogen in the patient’s blood, thereby establishing a diffusion gradient. Of course, you create an O2 diffusion gradient in the other direction as well, but the O2 diffuses more slowly and is quickly absorbed by surrounding tissues.
*However, care should be taken in individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who may retain carbon dioxide.
2. Henry M, Arnold T, Harvey J. BTS guidelines for the management of spontaneous pneumothorax. Thorax 200358(Suppl II)ii39–ii52.ii52
3. Ng C S, Lee T W, Wan S, Yim A P. Video assisted thoracic surgery in the management of spontaneous pneumothorax: the current status. Postgrad Med J 200682179–185.185