An oxygen hood is a clear, plastic piece of equipment that helps deliver oxygen to infants in need of supplemental oxygen. The hood surrounds the infant’s head and leaves the rest of the body accessible for nursing care.

In this article, we will explain what an oxygen hood is, how it works, and what benefits it provides to infants. We will also mention the indications and hazards associated with this type of therapy.

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What is an Oxygen Hood?

An oxygen hood is a device that is used to deliver supplemental oxygen to neonates. It is made up of a transparent, plastic enclosure that covers the head of the infant, leaving the rest of the body accessible for other types of care.

Oxygen is delivered through large-bore tubing that is connected to the hood. It can provide a stable FiO2 ranging from 21% to 100%.

The design of an oxygen hood is beneficial because the infant can receive a controlled concentration of oxygen while being placed in a natural thermal environment, such as an incubator.

Indications

The most common indications for using an oxygen hood to treat infants include:

  • To provide supplemental oxygen
  • To treat or prevent hypoxemia
  • To provide a controlled FiO2
  • To provide heated humidity
  • To perform an oxygen challenge test

Oxygen hoods are beneficial because they can provide a stable FiO2 while the infant is in a controlled environment.

In fact, they are even more stable than oxygen tents, which are another type of oxygen-delivering device used with infants.

Hazards

There are certain hazards and complications associated with using an oxygen hood. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Limited mobility
  • Limited access to the head
  • Hypoxemia when opening the hood
  • Complications from excessive oxygen delivery
  • Skin irritation
  • Cutaneous fungal infections
  • Hearing impairments

Mobility becomes a factor when an infant is placed in an oxygen hood for long periods of time, which can cause inconveniences if the infant is in need of oxygen.

When the oxygen hood is in use, it leaves limited access to the head. And if the hood is opened, less oxygen is delivered, which can result in hypoxemia.

An improperly sized hood can cause skin irritation around the infant’s neck. This can also occur if the patient is highly active while inside the hood.

Finally, oxygen hoods require high gas flows that produce high noise levels inside the enclosure. This can lead to hearing impairment if used for long periods of time.

Precautions

Although there are many benefits of using an oxygen hood, there are also certain precautions that need to be taken.

As previously mentioned, oxygen hoods can deliver stable concentrations of oxygen to the infant. However, if there is a disconnection or loss of gas flow to the hood, it can result in serious complications and even death.

That is why an oxygen analyzer must be used at all times in order to continuously monitor the concentration of oxygen inside of the hood.

infant oxygen hood illustration

The respiratory therapist is responsible for maintaining the proper alarms on the analyzer that will sound if the oxygen levels drop below a certain point.

Another precaution to take is to make sure that the hood is properly sized for the infant. If it is too small, it can cause skin irritation.

If it is too big, it can result in an improper seal, which can lead to a loss of oxygen.

It is also important to monitor the infant’s vital signs, such as heart rate, respiratory rate, and oxygen saturation levels. If the values fall outside of the normal ranges, it could be an indication of a serious respiratory disorder.

Final Thoughts

An oxygen hood is a device that is used to deliver supplemental oxygen to neonates. It is made up of a transparent, plastic enclosure that covers the head of the infant, leaving the rest of the body accessible.

The hood is connected to large-bore tubing that delivers oxygen to the infant. The concentration of oxygen can be controlled, and the hood can also provide heated humidification using an oxygen blender.

There are certain hazards and complications associated with using an oxygen hood, such as limited mobility, limited access to the head, and skin irritation. That is why it is important to take certain precautions, such as using an oxygen analyzer and a properly sized hood.

Be sure to read our other guide that covers the most important infant respiratory disorders. Thanks for reading!

Medical Disclaimer: This content is for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with a physician with any questions that you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking it because of something you read in this article. We strive for 100% accuracy, but errors may occur, and medications, protocols, and treatment methods may change over time.

References

The following are the sources that were used while doing research for this article:

  • Egan’s Fundamentals of Respiratory Care. 12th ed., Mosby, 2020. [Link]
  • Neonatal and Pediatric Respiratory Care. 5th ed., Saunders, 2018. [Link]
  • Nalepka, C. “The Oxygen Hood for Newborns in Respiratory Distress.” PubMed, Dec. 1975, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1041838.
  • “Controlled FiO2 Therapy to Neonates by Oxygenhood in the Absence of Oxygen Analyzer.” PubMed Central (PMC), 1 Apr. 2007, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4925353.

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Medical Disclaimer: The information provided by Respiratory Therapy Zone is for educational and informational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with a physician with any questions that you may have regarding a medical condition.