Hypoxia in Childhood Pneumonia: Better Detection and More Oxygen Needed in Developing Countries.

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Even though hypoxia is a major risk factor for death in children with acute respiratory infection in developing countries, oxygen is not part of first line treatment.Because oxygen is not readily available in developing countries it tends to be given to the most seriously ill children, whose outcome is poor. Oxygen might be useful if given earlier in the course of the disease. Clinical signs are not clear cut, however, though the presence of cyanosis and grunting together with a raised respiratory rate can significantly increase the detection of hypoxaemia. A simple oximeter would make detection easier, and oxygen concentrators are more cost effective than bottled oxygen. Ideally oxygen should be given to children in the early stages of clinical pneumonia to prevent deterioration.

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