Long-term oxygen therapy: Not so beneficial after all?

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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

CHICAGO – Long-term oxygen therapy does not decrease the risk of hospitalization or increase life expectancy for patients with mild to moderate COPD, according to a new study from the Mayo Clinic. It also may lower their quality of life, according to the study, which was published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. The most current research indicates that patients with mild to moderate hypoxemia do not benefit from oxygen therapy, outside of a reduced feeling of breathlessness. However, researchers say that measure is subjective and could be a placebo effect. Also, oxygen concentrator systems typically come in a shoulder bag, weighing about 5 pounds—not an insignificant amount of weight for someone who might be frail and easily exhausted. "It is a huge shortcoming of medicine that we still cannot identify which patients will benefit from oxygen therapy," says Dr. Agrwal. "We know some definitely do, but many more are likely not getting any meaningful treatment."