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Mayo Clin Proc. 2002 Jan;77(1):35-8.

A randomized controlled trial of oxygen for reducing nausea and vomiting during emergency transport of patients older than 60 years with minor trauma.

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Vienna Red Cross, Van Swieten and the Research Institute of the Vienna Red Cross, Austria.



To test the hypothesis that oxygen administration reduces nausea and vomiting in patients with minor trauma during ambulance transport.


This study, conducted from January to April 2000, consisted of 100 patients older than 60 years with minor trauma, who were randomly assigned to breathe air or 100% oxygen at 10 L/min through a facemask during ambulance transport. A paramedic, blinded to treatment, recorded vomiting episodes during transport. Patients, also blinded to treatment, rated their levels of pain, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, and overall satisfaction with their care on 100-mm visual analog scales, with greater values indicating more intense sensation. Results from the 2 groups were compared with chi2 or unpaired 2-tailed t tests and presented as means +/- SDs.


Before randomization, patients subsequently assigned to receive oxygen had significantly greater pain and nausea. On arrival at the hospital, oxygen saturation was higher in the 50 patients given oxygen (99% +/- 1 % vs 96% +/- 2%; P<.001) than in the 50 patients who breathed air. Reported pain remained greater in the oxygen group. However, those given oxygen had less nausea (22 +/- 29 vs 54 +/- 38 mm; P<.001) and vomiting (4 vs 19 episodes; P<.001), lower heart rates (86 +/- 12 vs 94 +/- 13 beats/min; P<.001), and higher overall satisfaction scores (54 +/- 33 vs 33 +/- 23 mm; P<.001).


Our results indicate that supplemental oxygen during ambulance transport reduced nausea scores by 50% and decreased vomiting 4-fold. Consequently, patients reported greater satisfaction with their care. Thus, we recommend that patients be given supplemental oxygen during ambulance transport.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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