Monday, February 3, 2020

Supplemental oxygen in cardioversion

Q: Supplemental oxygen should be turned off for a few seconds while electric cardioversion is performed? 

A) Yes 
B) No 

Answer:  A

Supplemental oxygen is a fire hazard! Turning off supplemental oxygen for a few seconds usually doesn't harm the patients as they already have enough reserve oxygen in dead space (denitrogenation). This mostly applies to patients with a nasal cannula, face mask, BiPAP, etc. Although the risk is very low in intubated patients where oxygen is supplied in a closed tubing, it is recommended to pause the ventilators for a few seconds. Risk is higher when oxygen concentration is equivalent or above 50% or is within 30 cm of applied pads.



1. ECRI Institute. Hazard report: using external defibrillators in oxygen-enriched atmospheres can cause fires. Health Devices 2005; 34: 423-425. 

2. American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR and ECC, 2005. Supplement to Circulation. 2005;112:IV-41.

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