Single Prong Nasal Cannula Improves Comfort, Promotes Restful Sleep for COPD Patients 

Uni-flo2 Single Nasal Cannula

By Campbell Cauthen, BS, RRT-NPS

For people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), getting to sleep — and sleeping through the night — can be a challenge. While a sufficient night’s rest is important for everyone, it is especially important for those dealing with the health challenges of COPD.

For COPD patients, nighttime low flow oxygen delivered via a dual prong nasal cannula is often prescribed to maintain appropriate blood oxygen levels during sleep.  Some people, however, face challenges with wearing a dual prong nasal cannula connected to an oxygen source, especially during sleep. The obsolete design of the typical dual prong cannula can be uncomfortable, causing the sleeper to awaken to make adjustments throughout the night.  And many times, a comfortable adjustment is not possible because the tubing of the dual prong cannula must cross both cheeks.  Patients who sleep on their side complain that they sometimes are not sure it is even worthwhile trying to sleep!

Sleep Solutions

One breakthrough patient-centric solution, the single prong single sided nasal cannula, addresses the comfort issues presented by the dual prong cannula during sleep. The inconspicuous, lightweight single prong cannula introduces a life-changing enhancement for improved comfort, appearance, better quality of life and better sleep.

Patients wearing the single prong nasal cannula during sleep are able to select the side of their face against which the oxygen tubing is most comfortable, and can place the opposite cheek against their pillow without having to tolerate the discomfort of the oxygen tubing pressing into their skin. This also prevents unsightly skin indentation on the face in the morning. What’s more, the ability to get sound quality sleep is beneficial for overall mental and physical health.

Interchangeable to either nostril with multiple strain-relief positions that ensure gas flow, a single prong single sided cannula reduces tube tugging or pulling on the patient. One study found that 98 percent of COPD patients surveyed were satisfied with the single nasal cannula system – a vast improvement over the dual prong nasal cannula.

Other advantages most frequently cited by COPD patients while wearing the single prong single sided cannula were greater comfort, freedom of movement, avoidance of facial skin irritation, ease of eating and enhanced ability to smell.

Advantages for Compliance

For providers, the advantages of the single prong single sided cannula are critical for compliance:

Low Profile: Can be placed on either side of the patient’s face, reducing the chance of irritation from oxygen tubing.

Non-Intrusive: Does not require lifting the patient’s head when placed. The memory wire inside the wall of the oxygen tubing can easily be molded to one side of the patient’s face, and around the back of the ear ensuring proper placement and comfort. Securing the large oxygen tubing to the patient’s apparel on the opposite side of the nasal insert with the security clip improves stability.

Compliance:  Enhances a sense of personal dignity, in combination with increased comfort and security, leading to improved patient socialization and confidence.

Comfort: Can be used in either nostril and easily switched from right to left nares to reduce nasal mucosal irritation from drying oxygen flows. This option should lessen the frequency of nosebleeds, improve patient comfort, and improve compliance.

Adaptability:  Patients with outer ear structural challenges or injuries, or suffering from a deviated nasal septum, are able to comfortably wear the single prong single sided cannula on the optimal side confident that it will remain in place and provide oxygen support.

Helping COPD Patients Sleep Better

As part of a number of ways to provide greater comfort, better sleep and improved quality of life for those with COPD, the single prong single sided nasal cannula innovation is popular with patients and providers alike, making the process of providing much-needed low flow oxygen simpler while reducing skin irritation, promoting ease of movement and enhancing health.


Campbell Cauthen, BS, RRT-NPS, is the co-inventor of the Uni-flo2 Single Nasal Cannula

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