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Automated versus manual oxygen titration in COPD exacerbation: machine or hands, this is the question

Authors Karaoren G, Goksu Tomruk S, Esquinas AM

Received 13 December 2016

Accepted for publication 21 December 2016

Published 3 April 2017 Volume 2017:12 Pages 1057—1060


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Russell

Gulsah Karaoren,1 Senay Goksu Tomruk,1 Antonio M Esquinas2

1Department of Anesthesiology and Reanimation, Istanbul Umraniye Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey; 2Intensive Care Unit, Hospital Morales Meseguer, Murcia, Spain
We have read the article titled “Automated oxygen titration and weaning with FreeO2 in patients with acute exacerbation of COPD: a pilot randomized trial” by Lellouche et al with great interest; however, there are some key aspects to take into account for proper practical implications.1
First, regarding ethical aspects, there seem to be some confusing points about disclosure and researchers. Of the researchers, one is a co-inventor of company that developed the device and two are owners of free oxygen generator. We could not clarify whether any of the authors are medical doctors.
With regard to other aspects in the manuscript, the study included COPD patients (aged .40 years) with exacerbation and resting saturation ,90% at room environment in whom SpO2 increased to ,92% by 8 L/min oxygen supplementation. It was mentioned that it was impossible to obtain informed consent from patients who stayed in the hospital for .24 h, those with antibiotic-resistant infection, those who underwent intermittent nonintensive ventilation, and those with cognitive dysfunction. Also, the authors did not mention comorbid conditions, body mass index, exercise capacity, duration of COPD, current therapies received, and, most importantly, whether there is comorbid heart failure in the patients.2 The authors performed pulmonary function tests by post-bronchodilator spirometry; however, they did not take COPD grade (mild/moderate/severe) into account during standardization.3 In addition, there were no data regarding concurrent therapies given at emergency department and during admission. Did all patients undergo a standard treatment protocol? Moreover, patients of a broad range of age were included in the study. Thus, it is impossible to have no variations in exercise capacity, cognitive functions, and treatment response in this wide range of age from 40 to 80 years.
The finding that use of free oxygen device was only an effective factor in improved saturation and shortened length of hospital stay by neglecting many parameters arises some questions about the results obtained in this study. In the limitations, the authors mentioned that sample size per group was small. However, no power analysis was performed. 

Authors’ reply
François Lellouche, Erwan L’Her, François Maltais, Yves Lacasse

Centre de Recherche de l’Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec, Université Laval, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
The letter from Karaoren et al referring to our recently published paper on the evaluation of FreeO2 during acute exacerbation of COPD1 raises questions regarding the possibility for researchers to evaluate their own innovations. Indeed, the FreeO2 system that automatically adjusts the oxygen flow rate in spontaneously breathing patients to stabilize SpO2 within a predetermined range was developed in our laboratory,2 with the input of local researchers, pulmonologists, respiratory therapists, nurses, and biomedical engineers. This collaboration led to the development of a prototype that we naturally evaluated in our institution.

View the original paper by  Lellouche F and colleagues.

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