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Long-term oxygen therapy: Are we prescribing appropriately?

Authors Rous MRG

Published 6 June 2008 Volume 2008:3(2) Pages 231—237

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/COPD.S1230


Mª Rosa Güell Rous

Departament de Pneumologia, Hospital de la Santa Creu I de Sant Pau, Barcelona, Spain

Abstract: Long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) is the treatment proven to improve survival in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients with chronic respiratory failure. It also appears to reduce the number of hospitalizations, increase effort capacity, and improve health-related quality of life. Standard LTOT criteria are related to COPD patients who have PaO2 <60 mmHg, are in a clinical stable situation, and are receiving optimal pharmacological treatment. According to LTOT guidelines, oxygen should be prescribed for at least 18 hours per day although some authors consider 24 hours would be more beneficial. The benefits of LTOT depend on correction of hypoxemia. Arterial blood gases should be measured at rest. During exercise, an effort test should be done to assure adequate SaO2. During sleep, continuous monitoring of SaO2 and PaCO2 should be performed to confirm correction of SaO2 overnight. An arterial blood gas sample should be taken at awakening to assess PaCO2 in order to prevent hypoventilation from the oxygen therapy. Several issues that need to be addressed are the use of LTOT in COPD patients with moderate hypoxemia, the efficacy of LTOT in patients who desaturate during exercise or during sleep, the optimal dosage of oxygen supplementation, LTOT compliance, and the LTOT prescription in diseases other than COPD.

Keywords: long-term oxygen therapy, COPD, oxygen supplementation, chronic respiratory failure, hypoxemia

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