The oxygen used in the treatment of heart disease is a concentrated, irritating gas and not the same as the oxygen and nitrogen mixture we breathe. When used carelessly, it can cause harm. Nonetheless, when carefully employed in cases of heart failure it often provides dramatic relief. We have seen many cases where its cautious use overcame the decompensation in the heart, rid the body of excess fluids, and made the elimination of mercurial diuretics, even in advanced cases of heart disease, possible.
Oxygen Therapy News, September 20, 1950, referred to Dr. R. L. Levy who pointed out that with the use of oxygen, pain is lessened or abolished, the heart rate falls, and respiration is slower and less labored. The patient is no longer restless. It is possible to curtail materially or stop entirely the use of opiates and sedatives.2
This is in line with our findings, and the fact that oxygen helps to limit or eliminate the use of the opiates and sedatives only adds value to it.
Our primary aim should be to maintain our health so as to avoid lapsing into a condition where this therapy becomes necessary, but when this point is reached the cautious use of oxygen can often save human life. Needless to say that its application must be carefully supervised by one who is thoroughly experienced in the handling of these cases.
The handling of a heart case is not a simple matter. Many problems may arise that require the decision of one skilled in the handling of these emergency measures.
However, to ensure gratifying results, it is imperative that the doctor or practitioner in charge of the case possess a full grasp of hygienic principles and understands how to make the delicate adjustments necessary to help the patient recover.