oxygen tent

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Oxygen tent

Around the year 1900, French physician Charles Michel (1850-1935) first realized the importance of oxygen to aid the recovery process from respiratory diseases. Oxygen helped the patients breathe easier and made them more alert by providing pure oxygen to the lung tissues and from there, into the blood. Michel used a small collapsible container around the patient's head, but the oxygen tent, as it was soon called, was soon expanded around a patient's entire bed. Oxygen tents then began to appear in hospitals in Europe and North America.

Tent Use and Design

Oxygen tents are most often used when a patient suffers from respiratory problems. Carbon monoxide poisoning or a disease like pneumonia can be helped with the oxygen tent. The tents are also used following an event in which the patient's body has been deprived of oxygen. The gas inside the tent has a higher percentage of oxygen than normally found in air. When the patient is in the tent and breathes, he or she is taking in more oxygen per breath.

The tent is usually a dome-shaped hood over a hospital bed. The tent seals out the regular atmosphere so that the patient can breathe only the oxygen-rich air that is forced in at the top of the tent. The tent is also equipped with a pump to keep the air circulating. The amount of moisture (humidity) in the tent is also controlled so that the lungs do not dry out. The carbon dioxide exhaled by the patient is continually monitored and removed.

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tent (tent) n.
1. an enclosure of material (usually transparent plastic) around a patient in bed, into which a gas or vapour can be passed as part of treatment. oxygen t. a tent into which oxygen is passed.

2. a piece of dried vegetable material, usually a seaweed stem, shaped to fit into an orifice, such as the cervical canal. As it absorbs moisture it expands, dilating the orifice.

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ox·y·gen tent • n. a tentlike enclosure within which the air supply can be enriched with oxygen to aid a patient's breathing.