What is the benefit of titrated oxygen treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)?

Updated: Aug 15, 2019
  • Author: Paul Kleinschmidt, MD; Chief Editor: Barry E Brenner, MD, PhD, FACEP  more...
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Answer

Adequate oxygen should be given to relieve hypoxia. A belief (ingrained from medical school) is held widely that too much oxygen causes significant respiratory depression. Multiple studies in the literature dispute this view. With administration of oxygen, PO2 and PCO2 rise but not in proportion to the very minor changes in respiratory drive. However, a prehospital study of patients with acute exacerbations of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by Austin et al documented lower morbidity and mortality with titrated versus standard high-flow oxygen treatment. In a cluster randomized, controlled parallel group trial in 405 patients, titrated oxygen treatment significantly reduced mortality, hypercapnia, and respiratory acidosis. [6]


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