Nasal cannula

The nasal cannula is a type of oxygen delivery device. It is made of plastic. One end of the cannula consists of two prongs that go into the nostrils. The other end connects to the oxygen source. Oxygen source may be an oxygen concentrator, oxygen pipe system in the hospital, or the oxygen cylinders.


(also known as humidified high flow nasal cannula (HHFNC)).

Both of them can be used by patients while eating and talking. The cannulae are light, portable, and easy to use.

Low flow nasal cannulaHigh flow nasal cannula
Low flow deviceHigh flow device
The supply flow rate ranges from 1 to 6 liters/minThe supply flow rate ranges up to 50 or 60 liters/min based on the design of the machines.
The value of FiO2 ranges from 21% to 41%.The value of FiO2 ranges from 21% to 100%.
No need for humidification


Humidification is needed.
The value of FiO2 cannot be controlled.It can control the value of FiO2. The oxygen sensor measures its value. Similarly, the rotameter controls the flow rate of oxygen.
There is no variation in the temperature of the supplied airAir is generally heated up to 370C prior to the administration to the patient.
Best suited for a stable and minor patient.Best suited for patients with acute respiratory failures.
Applicable for a longer period of time.Applicable for a shorter period of time.
The tubes are narrowThe tubes are wider to sustain a higher velocity of air.
CheaperQuite expensive

Handling process

  • Check the condition of the device. If there is an oxygen sensor then check it. Expose it to the atmosphere and see the value of FiO2. It should show about 21% value. If this is not the case then you may need to do the calibration.
  • Do not bring flammable objects near the machine. Put it away from the risk of electric sparks. Oxygen acts as a catalyst for a burning fire.
  • Check for leakage in the cannula tubes.
  • Always use distilled water in the humidifier.

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