Lege Artis Medicinae

[LONG-TERM OXYGEN TREATMENT]

SOMFAY Attila

FEBRUARY 20, 2005

Lege Artis Medicinae - 2005;15(02)

[Long-term oxygen therapy is the only treatment that has been shown to significantly improve life expectancy in patients with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) exhibiting marked hypoxemia. There has been sginificant advances in the longterm oxygen therapy in the last two decades caused by the technological improvements in oxygen delivery systems as well as our better knowledge of the beneficial effects of the longterm oxygen therapy including better quality of life, exercise tolerance and pulmonary hemodynamic effects. This expansive therapy requires the documentation of chronic arterial hypoxemia by arterial blood gas analysis or pulsoximetry which should be reassesed during chronic care of these patients. Besides hypoxaemia, the consequences of tissue hypoxia induced by different problems in the oxygenation chain should also be considered. Indication of long-term oxygen therapy is optimally based on evidence and pathophysiology, thereby the undesirable placebo effect or psychological addiction to oxygen can be reduced. Late laboratory diagnostics and poor patient compliance are the main determinants of undertreatment. The real value of the long-term oxygen therapy in indications other than hypoxaemic COPD requires more controlled studies.]

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