Insufflation (Latin: insufflare, lit. 'to blow into') is the act of blowing something (such as a gas, powder, or vapor) into a body cavity. Insufflation has many medical uses, most notably as a route of administration for various drugs.
- 1 Debate on applicability of term for recreational drugs
- 2 Medical uses
- 3 References
Debate on applicability of term for recreational drugs
Nasal inhalation of recreational drugs ("snorting") is often considered an example of insufflation, though the etymology and scientific understanding of the term does not include inhalation of any kind, as blowing requires the application of positive pressure to push the substance into the nose, whereas inhaling refers to drawing or sucking in, which requires the generation of negative pressure in the thorax.
Gases are often insufflated into a body cavity to inflate the cavity for more workroom, e.g. during laparoscopic surgery. The most common gas used in this manner is carbon dioxide, because it is non-flammable, colorless and dissolves readily in blood. It is, however, not an inert gas.
Oxygen can be insufflated into the nose by nasal cannulae to assist in respiration.
Pump inhalers for asthmatics deliver aerosolized drugs into the lungs via the mouth. However, the insufflation by the pump is not adequate for delivery to the lungs, necessitating an active inhalation by the patient.
Anesthesia and critical care
Insufflated gases and vapors are used to ventilate and oxygenate patients (oxygen, air, helium), and to induce, assist in or maintain general anaesthesia (nitrous oxide, xenon, volatile anesthetic agents).
Nasal drug administration
Nasal insufflation is the most common method of nasal administration. Other methods are nasal inhalation (common in recreational use) and nasal instillation. Drugs administered in this way can have a local effect or a systemic effect. The time of onset for systemic drugs delivered via nasal administration is generally only marginally slower than if given intravenously. The bioavailability of drugs administered nasally is generally significantly higher than drugs taken orally.
Examples of drugs given
- Steroids (local effect) and anti-asthma medication
- Hormone replacement
- Decongestants (local effect)
- Nicotine replacement
- Migraine medication
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- Sloane, PM; Griffin, JF; O'Dwyer, TP; Griffin, JM (November 1991). "Esophageal insufflation and videofluoroscopy for evaluation of esophageal speech in laryngectomy patients: clinical implications". Radiology. 181 (2): 433–437. PMID 1924785. doi:10.1148/radiology.181.2.1924785.
- Ramaraj, R; Sugumaran, A; Khan, H; Mathialahan, T; George, P (2011). "Comparison of carbon dioxide (CO2) to air insufflation in colonoscopy". Gut. doi:10.1136/gut.2011.239301.421.
- Johnson, P; Shah, S; Soares, D (2008). "Air insufflation for the treatment of intussusception in the Radiology Department at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) between 1998 and 2003". The Internet Journal of Radiology.