What is an oxygen face tent vector

What is an Oxygen Face Tent? (2024)

by | Updated: Apr 9, 2024

An oxygen face tent is a unique device that delivers oxygen to patients who are unable to use standard oxygen delivery methods due to facial injuries or surgeries.

By examining the device’s functionality, benefits, and potential drawbacks, this article will offer a comprehensive look at the face tent’s role in oxygen therapy.

The goal is to provide readers with an in-depth understanding of this alternative solution, enhancing their knowledge of oxygen therapy and overall patient care.

What is an Oxygen Face Tent?

An oxygen face tent is a medical device designed to administer oxygen to patients who cannot comfortably use a traditional oxygen mask or nasal cannula. The face tent fits around the patient’s neck, under the jaw, and around the cheeks, with the front edge situated higher than the nostrils.

Oxygen Face Tent Vector Illustration

A heated or cool large-volume nebulizer is typically connected to it, ensuring the gas delivered is adequately humidified.

Flows of 5-10 L/min are commonly used with adults, although the precise oxygen percentage is monitored closely via a pulse oximeter or arterial blood gas test.


  • Versatility: Oxygen face tents offer an alternative solution for patients unable to use standard oxygen delivery methods, such as nasal cannulas or face masks, due to facial injuries or surgeries.
  • Comfort: The design of the face tent often provides greater comfort for the patient, especially over prolonged periods of use.
  • Humidification: The large-volume nebulizer attached to the face tent ensures that the oxygen delivered is not dry, reducing potential irritation or discomfort.


  • Positioning: The patient must be sitting as upright as possible when using a face tent to prevent oxygen loss, which may be challenging for some patients, particularly those with mobility issues.
  • Accuracy: Oxygen delivered through a face tent may vary due to the device’s design and positioning. As oxygen is heavier than air, if the face tent is not properly fitted, oxygen may simply “pour” out, making it difficult to ascertain the precise concentration of inspired oxygen.
  • Maintenance: The face tent and nebulizer require vigilant maintenance, ensuring the nebulizer is filled with sterile water, the high-pressure pop-off is working, and gas is flowing through the tubing before placing the face tent on the patient. This necessity for diligent attention may be a challenge in some care environments.

How to Deliver Oxygen With a Face Tent

Delivering oxygen using a face tent is a procedure that requires careful steps to ensure safety and effectiveness.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to deliver oxygen with a face tent:

  1. Preparation: Before beginning the procedure, gather all necessary equipment, including the oxygen face tent, a large-volume nebulizer, sterile water, and an oxygen source.
  2. Check the Equipment: Inspect the face tent and nebulizer to make sure they are clean and undamaged. Also, verify that the high-pressure pop-off is working and gas is flowing correctly through the tubing.
  3. Fill the Nebulizer: Pour sterile water into the nebulizer. This is to ensure the oxygen delivered to the patient is adequately humidified and not dry.
  4. Connect the Nebulizer: Attach the nebulizer to the oxygen source. If the aerosol is heated, add a drainage bag at the low point of the tubing to collect any condensate.
  5. Set the Oxygen Flow: Oxygen flow rates for a face tent usually ranges from 5-10 L/min for adults, which may vary for each patient.
  6. Position the Patient: The patient should be sitting as upright as possible. This position helps to maximize the concentration of oxygen inhaled by the patient.
  7. Apply the Face Tent: Place the Face Tent around the patient’s neck, under the jaw, and around the cheeks. The front edge should be positioned higher than the level of the patient’s nostrils.
  8. Check the Oxygen Concentration: Try to measure the oxygen percentage close to the patient’s nose and mouth for accuracy.
  9. Monitor the Patient: Regularly check the patient’s oxygen saturation and overall condition. If any changes in oxygen percentage are made, or if the patient’s condition changes significantly, reevaluate the patient’s oxygen levels.
  10. Maintenance: Ensure regular maintenance of the Face Tent and nebulizer. Refill the nebulizer with sterile water as needed, check the gas flow, and ensure the high-pressure pop-off is functional.

What is the Purpose of an Oxygen Face Tent?

The purpose of an oxygen face tent is to deliver oxygen to patients in a comfortable and effective manner. This device is particularly beneficial for individuals who cannot use standard oxygen delivery methods, such as a nasal cannula or a traditional oxygen mask, due to factors like facial injuries, burns, or recent surgeries.

An oxygen face tent fits over the patient’s face and neck, offering a loose seal that can reduce discomfort and claustrophobia associated with more confining masks.

The design also allows for the delivery of humidified oxygen, helping to prevent the dryness and irritation that can occur with other oxygen delivery methods.

FAQs About Oxygen Face Tents

What are the Benefits of a Face Tent?

The primary benefits of a face tent are versatility and comfort. They provide a viable alternative for oxygen delivery to patients who cannot use standard methods, such as nasal cannulas or traditional oxygen masks, usually due to facial injuries, burns, or post-operative care needs.

Furthermore, face tents are designed to be more comfortable over extended periods, especially for patients who may feel claustrophobic with a traditional oxygen mask.

They are also equipped with large-volume nebulizers, allowing oxygen to be humidified, which reduces potential discomfort from dry gases.

How Much Oxygen Does a Face Tent Deliver?

A face tent can deliver up to 40% of oxygen concentration. However, the actual concentration can vary and is dependent on the oxygen flow rate, the patient’s breathing pattern, and how well the face tent fits.

It is important to monitor the patient’s oxygen saturation level to ensure they are receiving an appropriate FiO2 to maintain adequate oxygenation.

How Many Liters of Oxygen for a Face Tent?

The amount of oxygen delivered through a face tent typically ranges between 5 to 10 liters per minute for adults. However, this can be adjusted based on the individual patient’s needs.

The healthcare provider will determine the appropriate flow rate, and this should be adjusted, if necessary, based on the patient’s oxygen saturation and overall condition.

Final Thoughts

Oxygen face tents play a vital role in providing specialized respiratory care, particularly for those who cannot utilize traditional oxygen delivery methods due to facial trauma, burns, or post-surgical conditions.

While these devices demand careful monitoring and maintenance, their ability to deliver humidified oxygen in a more comfortable and less restrictive manner makes them invaluable in certain healthcare settings.

By understanding the uses, advantages, and potential limitations of oxygen face tents, healthcare providers can more effectively provide oxygen therapy to their patients.

John Landry, BS, RRT

Written by:

John Landry, BS, RRT

John Landry is a registered respiratory therapist from Memphis, TN, and has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. He enjoys using evidence-based research to help others breathe easier and live a healthier life.


  • Poulton TJ, Comer PB, Gibson RL. Face tent vs. face mask for oxygen therapy. Anesthesiology. 1978.
  • Hardavella G, Karampinis I, Frille A, Sreter K, Rousalova I. Oxygen devices and delivery systems. Breathe (Sheff). 2019.

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