Glossary Entry: High Flow Nasal Cannula


Definition: The high flow nasal cannula is a medical device used to deliver high flow rates of heated and humidified oxygen to patients with respiratory insufficiency, providing a comfortable and effective method of oxygen therapy.

Detailed Description

Types and Variations

Variations: High flow nasal cannulas may vary in the flow rates and oxygen concentrations they deliver, allowing for customization based on the patient’s specific needs.


Common Uses: This device is commonly used in the treatment of conditions such as acute respiratory failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Insertion and Placement

Procedure: The high flow nasal cannula is inserted into the patient’s nostrils, with attention to the correct sizing and secure placement to ensure optimal oxygen delivery.

Clinical Considerations

Potential Complications

Risks: Potential complications associated with high flow nasal cannula use include nasal irritation, drying of the mucous membranes, and discomfort for the patient.

Care and Maintenance

Maintenance Requirements: Proper care and maintenance of the device include regular cleaning, checking for proper function, and ensuring that the humidification system is operating effectively.

Additional Information

Related Devices

Associated Terms: High flow nasal cannulas may be used in conjunction with pulse oximeters and respiratory rate monitors to assess the patient’s response to oxygen therapy.

Innovations and Advancements

Recent Developments: Recent innovations in high flow nasal cannula technology have focused on improving humidification systems and noise reduction to enhance patient comfort and compliance.

Regulatory and Safety Notes

Regulations: Use of the high flow nasal cannula should adhere to established medical device regulations and safety guidelines to ensure safe and effective oxygen therapy for patients.