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Ambulatory oxygen rarely a benefit in COPD patients without resting hypoxemia
Date:8/15/2007

ssessed as individuals who served as their own controls, four patients showed improvement in the dyspnea scores with oxygen, and only one was identified as a clear responder, whose overall scores and walk tests improved markedly on oxygen, and who requested early termination of the placebo phase of the trial during all three periods.

Although ambulatory oxygen acutely improved constant power endurance and a standardized home walking test, very few patients experienced benefit from oxygen at home, wrote the researchers.

These results are consistent with those in previous studies, which have likewise found that improvements in exercise capacity and endurance do not translate into perceived benefits in dyspnea and quality of life. However, one investigation in patients who had completed a pulmonary rehabilitation program, did find differences in the CRQ, suggesting a benefit from oxygen to more active patients.

These findings raise important questions about identifying patients who stand to benefit from oxygen. One approach to the issue is to restrict oxygen use to patients who show benefit from an N-of-1 trial, the researchers suggest, noting that while the costs of such trials are not negligible, they are considerably less than the cost of providing long-term ambulatory oxygen for patients who do not benefit from it.

The study also challenges us to learn what supplemental oxygen therapy can accomplish when coupled with an exercise program designed to potentiate oxygens effects, wrote M. Bradley Drummond, M.D., and Robert A. Wise, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in an accompanying editorial. Continued efforts with innovative approaches...will allow the treatment of COPD to move away from the limited data of the past into a future where COPD no longer damages and shortens the lives of so many.


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Contact: Suzy Martin
smartin@thoracic.org
212-315-8631
American Thoracic Society
Source:Eurekalert

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