Hypoxia Treatment

Hypoxia is caused by a lack of oxygen in the tissues and organs of the body. The condition is treated by improving oxygenation and increasing the partial pressure of oxygen (pO2) in the blood.

Treatment also depends on the cause of hypoxia and may include correction of cyanide poisoning, methemoglobinemia, anemia or high altitude-induced hypoxia, for example.

Methods of treatment

In the case of high altitude sickness, acclimatization can help restore the partial pressure of oxygen (pO2) to a certain extent but is not sufficient to fully restore it.

Hyperventilating or breathing rapidly allows more oxygen into the lungs but is also not enough to normalize pO2.

One of the most important methods of treating hypoxia is to administer oxygen. This increases the concentration of oxygen being inhaled which increases the partial pressure of oxygen in the blood and corrects hypoxia. Also, in high altitude conditions, oxygen enrichment counteracts the effects of low air pressure and the partial pressure of oxygen in the arterial blood is restored to normal.

Some of the devices for delivering oxygen via inhalation include:

Nasal cannula

Delivers oxygen at a flow rate of 1 to 6 litres per minute (l/min), at concentrations of 24 to 44%.

Simple oxygen facemask

Delivers oxygen at 6 to 8 l/min, at concentrations of 40 to 60%.

Non-rebreather mask

Delivers oxygen at 8 to 15 l/min, at concentrations of 60 to 80%.

Bag valve mask

Delivers oxygen at least 15 l/min, at concentrations of 60 to 90%.

Transport ventilator

Delivers oxygen at various ranges and at concentrations of 21 to 100%.

Once delivered, the oxygen levels in blood are monitored using pulse oximeters. Arterial blood gas analysis can also give results of exact amounts of oxygen in the arterial blood.

Further Reading

Last Updated: Feb 26, 2019

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Written by

Dr. Ananya Mandal

Dr. Ananya Mandal is a doctor by profession, lecturer by vocation and a medical writer by passion. She specialized in Clinical Pharmacology after her bachelor's (MBBS). For her, health communication is not just writing complicated reviews for professionals but making medical knowledge understandable and available to the general public as well.


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  1. Dhananjaya HR Dhananjaya HR United States says:


    Hope your are doing great..

    I am from India I have a baby of 1.8years male gifted from god, But the happiness was not too long unfortunately baby drowned in water for 20 min and shifted to near hospital god grace his little heart started working and pulse came back he was in ICU for 16days now he is looking  normal but I need suggestions ...

    1) He is able to open his eyes but not tracings us but responding to voice

    2) And his is able move his little hand and legs but full tightness is showing some time when he is resting everything will be normal

    3) But food is supplied from tube and now he start swallowing saliva slowly

    What’s your suggestion on this case please help me..

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