Use of long-term supplemental oxygen did not prolong life or delay time to first hospitalization compared with no long-term supplementation in patients with stable chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) with resting or exercise-induced moderate desaturation, according to the results of a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
“COPD patients with moderate resting oxygen desaturation or who have desaturation only with exercise do not benefit [from supplemental oxygen] in terms of survival or hospitalization,” study researcher Robert Wise, MD, of the Johns Hopkins Asthma and Allergy Center in Baltimore, Maryland, told Medical Economics. “However, prior evidence supports the fact that COPD patients with more severe resting oxygen desaturation do have improved survival.”
The efficacy of long-term supplemental oxygen in patients with stable COPD and resting or exercise-induced moderate desaturation was unknown. According to Wise, currently, most physicians do not provide oxygen to patients with COPD with moderate resting desaturation. However, it is very common that patients who had moderate exercise-induced desaturation receive supplemental oxygen with activity and sleep.