This prospective and controlled pilot study evaluates the long-term effects of nocturnal oxygen therapy (NOT) on exercise endurance, hematology variables, quality of life, and survival of 23 adult patients (mean age, 32 +/- 6 yr) with post-tricuspid congenital heart defects (ventricular septal defect = 10; patent ductus arteriosus = 13) and Eisenmenger Syndrome. All had pulmonary hypertension (mean pulmonary artery pressure = 88 +/- 20 mm Hg), severe hypoxemia (Pa(O(2)) = 44 +/- 5 mm Hg), and secondary erythrocytosis (hematocrit = 61.5 +/- 7%). Exercise endurance (6-min walk test = 380 +/- 88 m) was limited. In a random fashion, NOT was given to one group of patients (n = 12) but withheld from a comparable control group (n = 11). At 2 yr of close follow-up, two patients in the group of control patients, and three in the treatment group died. Mean survival estimates were similar in both groups (20.7 versus 20.8 mo; chi-square log-rank, 0.08; p = NS). Likewise, none of the hematology, exercise capacity, and quality of life variables examined showed statistically significant changes that were dependent on treatment regimen. We conclude that NOT does not modify the natural history of patients with advanced Eisenmenger Syndrome.