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Ambulance (als or bls) oxygen and oxygen supplies, life sustaining situation

HCPCS code

Name of the Procedure

Ambulance (ALS or BLS) Oxygen and Oxygen Supplies, Life Sustaining Situation
Common Name: Emergency Oxygen Support, Ambulance Oxygen
Technical Term: HCPCS Code A0422


This procedure involves providing life-sustaining oxygen and supplies in an emergency medical setting, either through Advanced Life Support (ALS) or Basic Life Support (BLS) during ambulance transport.


The primary aim of this procedure is to ensure that patients experiencing severe respiratory distress or failure receive the necessary oxygen to sustain life until they can reach a medical facility. It addresses acute respiratory issues and maintains adequate oxygenation of tissues and organs.


This procedure is warranted for patients exhibiting symptoms such as:

  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Cyanosis (bluish coloration of the skin due to lack of oxygen)
  • Hypoxemia (low blood oxygen levels)
  • Respiratory arrest or severe respiratory distress
  • Cardiac arrest with respiratory involvement Patient criteria include those with critical or life-threatening conditions requiring immediate oxygen support during transportation.


  • No specific preparation required for patients as the condition is typically emergent.
  • Pre-procedure assessments by paramedics include monitoring vital signs and evaluating respiratory status.
  • Ensure that all oxygen delivery equipment is functional and readily available in the ambulance.

Procedure Description

  1. Assessment: Initial patient assessment to determine the need for oxygen support.
  2. Equipment Setup: Setup of oxygen delivery system (e.g., mask, nasal cannula) connected to an oxygen source.
  3. Oxygen Administration: Administering oxygen at an appropriate flow rate based on the patient's condition.
  4. Monitoring: Continuous monitoring of patient’s oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, and overall condition.
  5. Adjustment: Adjusting oxygen flow as needed based on patient response and clinical guidelines.
  6. Transport: Safe transport of the patient to the nearest and most appropriate medical facility while continuing oxygen support.

    Tools and Equipment:

    • Oxygen tanks/cylinders
    • Masks, nasal cannulas, or advanced airway management devices
    • Pulse oximeters and monitoring equipment


The duration of this procedure is variable and lasts as long as the patient is in transit and requires oxygen support.


This procedure is performed in an emergency setting, typically within an ambulance (ground or air transport).


Healthcare professionals involved include:

  • Paramedics
  • Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)
  • Advanced Life Support (ALS) providers

Risks and Complications

  • Common Risks: Minor discomfort from masks or nasal cannulas, mucosal dryness.
  • Rare Risks: Oxygen toxicity, equipment failure, fire hazard in presence of open flames (due to oxygen's flammability).


  • Rapid stabilization of respiratory function.
  • Prevention of hypoxia-related complications.
  • Potentially life-saving intervention during transport to a medical facility. Benefits are typically realized immediately upon administration.


  • Continued monitoring and oxygen support in the hospital's emergency department.
  • Follow-up care based on the underlying cause of respiratory distress.
  • Patients may receive instructions on long-term oxygen therapy if needed.


  • No alternatives in acute life-threatening situations; supplementary oxygen is critical.
  • In non-emergent settings, other treatments for underlying respiratory conditions (e.g., inhalers, steroids, antibiotics) may be considered.

Patient Experience

  • Patients may feel relief from acute respiratory distress upon receiving oxygen.
  • Some discomfort from oxygen delivery devices may be experienced.
  • Comfort measures include proper fitting of masks/nasal cannulas and humidification of oxygen if available. Pain management is generally not required for this procedure itself but may be relevant for the underlying medical condition.

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