The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2000 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Scientific Basis for Ambulatory Oxygen

Thomas L. Petty, MD, FAARC University of Colorado Health Science Center, Denver, Colorado

A strong scientific foundation for the use of oxygen can be traced to the original studies of the Denver, Colorado and Birmingham, United Kingdom groups. The Nocturnal Oxygen Therapy Trial (NOTT) and the British Medical Research Council (MRC) trial were two randomized, controlled prospective studies that showed a survival benefit with oxygen.
Survival in COPD with chronic stable hypoxemia without oxygen is poor. Survival is somewhat better with oxygen given from a stationary source, 12 to 15 hours a day. Survival is far better when oxygen is given from an ambulatory source for 18 or more hours a day. Very likely, the improved survival in the ambulatory oxygen patients in the NOTT study was the ability to have oxygen during all activities of daily living, both inside and outside of the home. By improving oxygen content and cardiac output through exercise, tissue oxygen transport is improved. It is likely that the improved tissue oxygen transport will restore the structure and function of critical organs necessary for the healthy survival of patients with advanced COPD.

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