Diffusion Hypoxia

Diffusion hypoxia may be encountered at the end of an anesthetic administration with N2O. The mechanism underlying diffusion hypoxia is essentially the reverse of the concentration effect; that is, when anesthetic administration is stopped, large volumes of N2O move from the blood into the alveolus, diluting oxygen and expanding lung expiratory volume. To avoid diffusion hypoxia, the anesthesiologist may employ 100% oxygen rather than room air after discontinuing administration of the anesthetic gas mixture.

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