Home oxygen therapy programme is new in Malaysia. This programme enables children with respiratory insufficiency to be discharged home early.
Materials and methods: Long term oxygen therapy was initiated using an oxygen concentrator in patients who i) remained hypoxic while breathing room air, ii) experienced desaturations of more than 20% during sleep as seen in patients with severe laryngomalacia and obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome and iii) had pulmonary hypertension with or without polycythaemia. The median with first and third quartile values are presented for the quantitative variables.
Results: A total of 71 patients mainly children with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) (32) and bronchiolitis obliterans (12) were discharged home on this programme. The median age at which home oxygen was initiated in children with BPD was 5.0 (Q1: 2, Q3: 8) months. The median total duration of oxygen requirement for BPD was 8.0 (Q1: 5, Q3: 12) months. The median duration of home oxygen dependency was 3.5 (Q1: 3, Q3: 6) months. However children with bronchiolitis obliterans required longer duration of oxygen therapy compared to children with BPD i.e. median duration of 28 months (Q1: 14.5, Q3: 66). In other respiratory conditions the mean duration of supplemental oxygen varies some of which may be life long.
Conclusions: This paper has shown the importance of home oxygen program in children with respiratory disorders. It has significantly shortened hospital stay and thus saves hospital costs and prevents prolonged separation from the family.