Long-term results of continuous oxygen therapy at sea level

Chest. 1975 Oct;68(4):486-92. doi: 10.1378/chest.68.4.486.


Twelve patients with hypoxemia associated with severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were treated with continuous portable oxygen therapy and have been followed up for a mean period of 25.2 months at sea level. Pulmonary function testing has revealed no further significant deterioration at long-term follow-up (17 months). After oxygen therapy was initiated, arterial carbon dioxide tension increased slightly, but decreased to pretreatment levels when patients were allowed to breathe room air. The electrocardiogram, which was unchanged at one month, has shown some reversal of cor pulmonale in five patients. Six patients have died, yielding a 56 percent survival rate at two-and-one-half years by the life table analysis. Five patients were autopsied, with possible oxygen toxicity being present in only one. The quality of life in our patients was improved and was especially represented by a reduction in hospital admissions for respiratory illness. We believe that continuous oxygen therapy is beneficial and worthwhile economically in certain patients.

MeSH terms

  • Altitude*
  • Autopsy
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Chronic Disease
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / etiology
  • Hypoxia / therapy
  • Lung / pathology
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / complications
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / mortality
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / physiopathology
  • Lung Diseases, Obstructive / therapy*
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy*
  • Pulmonary Heart Disease / therapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Respiratory Function Tests