Long-term supplemental O2 has little affect on patients with stable COPD, study says

Thursday, October 27, 2016

BALTIMORE – In patients with stable COPD, long-term supplemental oxygen does not result in a longer time to death or first hospitalization, nor does it provide sustained benefits regarding other measured outcomes, according to a recent study conducted by The Long-Term Oxygen Treatment Trial Research Group.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at 738 patients at 42 centers with stable COPD and moderate resting or moderate exercise-induced desaturation, and followed them for one to six years.

Patients were randomly assigned to receive long-term supplemental oxygen or no long-term supplemental oxygen. In the supplemental-oxygen group, patients with resting desaturation were prescribed 24-hour oxygen, and those with desaturation only during exercise, were prescribed oxygen during exercise and sleep. 

Researchers found no significant difference between the supplemental-oxygen and the no-supplemental-oxygen groups in the time to death or first hospitalization, or in the rates of all hospitalizations, COPD exacerbations and COPD-related hospitalizations.

The study also found no consistent differences in measures of quality of life, lung function or the distance walked in six minutes.



Very interesting study. Despite the fact that it concluded that there was no significant extension of life, I would have to disagree with the statement that oxygen did not help anxiety, depression, or quality of life. Just looking at some of my homecare patients that are on oxygen, it is very easy to conclude that it definitely helps the patient's anxiety and quality of life. Also, hospitalization was self-reported, therefore, it's possible that that number was underreported. Any respiratory provider can see that in many cases, what the patient tells the doctor is completely different than what's going on. Actual patient compliance with home oxygen patients is often very different than what they report to their doctor. Many times you start a new continuous use patient on oxygen, and you very rarely hear from them for refills.