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Conserving Oxygen

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Sustainability Matters - How and why you should make the effort in your ORs

Sustainability in the OR – eNewsletter


ISSUE 3 – 2023

In our previous Sustainability e-Newsletter, we discussed the positive impact of avoiding the use of Desflurane and N2O in exchange for Sevoflurane when delivering inhalational anesthesia.

In today’s e-newsletter, we will discuss oxygen’s carbon footprint and methods to reduce unnecessary waste.

Conserve Oxygen Wherever, and Whenever Possible.

  • Though not a harmful GHG like our volatile anesthetic gases, O2 carries its own carbon footprint.
  • 100% oxygen must be produced, compressed into tanks, and transported in diesel trucks to our hospitals for use in the OR.
  • In addition, the waste created from the masks and cannulas we use to deliver O2 adds to oxygen’s carbon footprint.
  • And . . . why use more than you need of anything? Overuse of oxygen results in unnecessary increases in our carbon footprint and monetary expense.

Follow These Three Easy Steps to Conserve Oxygen.

STEP 1.  Use lower flows (4 L/M face mask or 2 L/M nasal cannula) during MAC cases as well as during transport to PACU.

STEP 2.  Turn down the anesthesia machine gas flow to the minimum 0.15 L/M during MAC cases since you are using the auxiliary O2 supply.

STEP 3. Lower the oxygen flow during preoxygenation. You don’t need 15 L/M for preoxygenation. As long as you are delivering flows that exceed the patient’s minute ventilation, you are providing 100% O2. Dialing in 6 – 8 L/M fresh O2 flow is generally adequate for most adults. Just make sure the reservoir bag doesn’t empty from over-achieving patients taking 1500+ ml breaths.

Remember – big moves forward in sustainability are the result of many small steps!

Conserve Oxygen

NEXT TIME in Sustainability in the OR,  
I’ll share ADDITIONAL opportunities to reduce oxygen flow during other intraoperative phases of general anesthesia.

Until then, thanks for your continued efforts!   Adam

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As has been said by many individuals in various ways:
“We did not inherit this earth, we are borrowing it from our children.”

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Take action! Low flow anesthesia education:

Become a low-flow anesthesia expert and earn CME’s!
Complete this hands-on low-flow anesthesia education learning modual (if you haven’t done so already).  Earn CMEs through

Low-Flow Anesthesia – Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation

This APSF module will greatly assist you in becoming much more comfortable with the concepts of safe delivery of low flow anesthesia. Low flow anesthesia maintenance is the single best clinical practice for us to make the most of our contribution toward protecting our planet.

Please complete this excellent activity and gradually apply what you have learned to your practice.

APSF Education Modual >>
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Conserving Oxygen