What is the role of oxygen therapy in the treatment of idiopathic pulmonary arterial hypertension (IPAH)?

Updated: Jul 08, 2020
  • Author: Ronald J Oudiz, MD, FACP, FACC, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

Give supplemental oxygen in patients with resting or exercise-induced hypoxemia. Use caution if patients have a left-to-right shunt via a patent foramen ovale, because supplemental oxygen in these instances may provide little or no benefit.

Consider supplemental oxygen for PAH patients who are planning air travel, as mild hypobaric hypoxia can start at altitudes between 1500 and 2000 m, and commercial airliners are pressurized to the equivalent of an altitude between 1600 and 2500 m. [1] A prospective observational study of 34 air travelers with pulmonary hypertension found that 1 in 4 travelers experienced hypoxemia, which was associated with lower cabin pressure, ambulation during flight, and longer flight durations. Results suggest travelers with PH, who will be traveling on long flights or those with a history of oxygen use, should be considered for supplemental in-flight oxygen. [48]


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