British Thoracic Society releases updated Emergency Oxygen Guidelines – endorsed by ICS

The British Thoracic Society released an updated version of their Guideline for Oxygen Use in Adults in Healthcare and Emergency Settings on Monday 15th May. The Intensive Care Society has endorsed this guideline.

The updated guidance is based on new evidence about how effective prescribing and delivery of emergency oxygen for patients can both improve health and save lives.

The Guideline was first published in 2008 and endorsed by over 20 clinical societies and colleges, it advises health practitioners when prescribing oxygen to always specify a safe ‘target range’ of oxygen in the blood, which can then be monitored. This vital action is designed to ensure that patients are not given too little, or too much, oxygen which can result in greater illness and, in rare cases, even death.


There is mounting evidence that indicates that very high blood oxygen levels in intensive care unit (ICU) patients are associated with increased death rates.  Recent studies support the effectiveness of the BTS Guideline-recommended ‘target range’ for improving patient outcomes.

BTS website page for Guideline for Oxygen Use in Adults in Healthcare and Emergency Settings can be found here:

PDF of Guideline only: BTS_Guideline_for_Oxygen_Use_in_Healthcare_and_Emergency_Settings

ICS Resources page:


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