Cyanosis is the main and only important indication for oxygen therapy in pneumonia. While it can be said in theory that cyanosis exists in some degree in every patient with pneumonia, it does not follow that oxygen is always indicated nor is there any justification for the routine use of oxygen to prevent cyanosis.
Cyanosis is a difficult sign to evaluate quantitatively and, since that is exactly what must be done to decide about oxygen therapy, there is a tendency to use it needlessly. This tendency becomes very pressing when the prognosis looks bad and there is not very much to be done about it. Now that there is at hand for most pneumococcic pneumonia a good remedy, the need for oxygen is definitely reduced. I find in our hospital at Cincinnati that more of our patients have got well and that we have used much less oxygen since we
BLANKENHORN MA. OXYGEN THERAPY: INDICATIONS AND METHODS OF APPLICATION; RELATION TO OTHER THERAPY CLINICAL LECTURE AT ST. LOUIS SESSION. JAMA. 1939;113(15):1410–1411. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.72800400011008b
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