A nurse is educating a patient with emphysema that requires oxygen use at home via nasal cannula. The nurse should instruct the patient not to exceed what flow rate?

2 L/min


•With emphysema, respiratory drive is triggered by low oxygen levels because of long-standing hypercapnia.

•Increasing the oxygen flow rate past 2 LPM may diminish the patient's respiratory drive.

For reference:

•Nasal cannula: 1-6 LPM. At 4 LPM, approx 32% O2 is provided.

•Simple face mask: 6-10 LPM at 40-60% O2, but must be over 5 LPM to flush expired CO2 from mask.

•Venturi "Venti" mask: 4-8 LPM at 24-40% O2 at low flow or 10-12 LPM at 50% O2 at high flow.

•Nonrebreathing mask (NRB): 6-12 LPM. Provides 95% O2 with flow rate of 10-12 LPM.

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