Regular Article| Volume 95, ISSUE 12, P980-985, December 2001

Non-continuous home oxygen therapy: utilization, symptomatic effect and prognosis. Data from a national register on home oxygen therapy

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      About half of all patients on home oxygen therapy receive non-continuous oxygen therapy (less than 15 h daily) (NCOT). The goal of NCOT is to improve well-being during daily activities and to improve sleep quality. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of NCOT on pulmonary symptoms and sleep quality, and to determine whether patients with a subjective beneficial effect differed from those without effect in terms of patients' characteristics, utilization of oxygen, hospitalization and survival. Furthermore, the relationship between the reported beneficial effect of NCOT on dyspnoea and physical activity during domestic activities was examined. During the period November 1994 to July 1995, 254 Danish patients were prescribed oxygen less than 12 h daily or ‘on demand’. Of these patients, 142 (55·9%) answered a questionnaire on hours spent with oxygen and symptomatic effect of oxygen treatment. While on oxygen, 76·3% of the patients reported improved dyspnoea score (0–10) more than 0·5 points, 78·3% had improved quality of life, 59·5% improved sleep, 48·5% increased physical activity, 49·3% felt less tired and 40·0% reported improved thinking. Fifty-seven (43·2%) patients reported both improved dyspnoea and physical activity, whereas seven (5·3%) patients reported that oxygen had no effect on dyspnoea but a beneficial effect on physical activity. Only 11 (7·7%) patients reported no subjective improvement on oxygen. The subjective effect of NCOT was not significantly associated to hours spent with oxygen, the underlying disease, gender, hospitalization or survival. During daily activity and regardless of daily number of hours spent with oxygen, NCOT improved well-being in nearly all patients. The most pronounced improvement was reported on dyspnoea, sleep and quality of life. Very few patients sensed improved physical activity without relief in breathlessness.




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