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A randomized trial of long-term oxygen for COPD with moderate desaturation

from The New England Journal of Medicine

Two trials that were conducted in the 1970s showed that long-term treatment with supplemental oxygen reduced mortality among patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and severe resting hypoxemia. These results led to the recommendation that supplemental oxygen be administered to patients with an oxyhemoglobin saturation, as measured by pulse oximetry, of less than 89 percent. In the 1990s, two trials evaluated long-term treatment with supplemental oxygen in patients with COPD who had mild-to-moderate daytime hypoxemia; neither trial showed a mortality benefit, but both were underpowered to assess mortality. The effects of oxygen treatment on hospitalization, exercise performance, and quality of life are unclear. more


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