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Research article2012Peer reviewed

Efficacy Of A Portable Oxygen Concentrator With Pulsed Delivery For Treatment Of Hypoxemia During Anesthesia Of Wildlife

Fahlman A, Caulkett N, Arnemo JM, Neuhaus P, Ruckstuhl KE


Portable battery-driven oxygen concentrators provide an alternative to the use of oxygen cylinders for treatment of hypoxemia during field anesthesia. The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of the EverGo (TM) Portable Oxygen Concentrator (Respironics (R), Murrysville, Pennsylvania 15668, USA) with pulse-dose delivery for improvement of arterial oxygenation during anesthesia of wildlife. This concentrator delivers oxygen in a pulsed flow with pulse volumes from 12 to 70 ml, up to a maximum capacity of 1.05 L/min. The pulse-dose setting shall be adjusted according to the respiratory rate of the animal, e.g., setting 6 for a respiratory rate <= 15/min. The study included 16 free-ranging brown bears (Ursus arctos), 18 free-ranging bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis), and five captive reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). Oxygen was administered via two nasal lines that were inserted through the nostrils to the level of the medial canthus of the eyes. Arterial blood samples were collected before, during, and after oxygen therapy and immediately analyzed. When providing oxygen from the portable concentrator, the arterial oxygenation markedly improved in all brown bears and some reindeer, whereas no or minor improvement was seen in the bighorn sheep. The mean +/- SD (range) PaO2 during oxygen supplementation was 134 +/- 29 (90-185) mmHg in the brown bears, 52 +/- 11 (32-67) mmHg in the bighorn sheep, and 79 +/- 19 (61-110) mmHg in the reindeer. The efficacy of the evaluated method may be influenced by ambient temperature, altitude, pulse-dose setting on the concentrator, the animal's respiratory rate, and species-specific physiology during anesthesia. Advantages of the portable oxygen concentrator included small size and low weight, ease of operate, and rechargeablity.


Anesthesia; hypoxemia; immobilization; oxygen concentrator; oxygen therapy; wildlife

Published in

Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine
2012, Volume: 43, number: 1, pages: 67-76