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.
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