Background: The aim of the study was to determine whether home oxygen therapy (HOT) reduces hospitalization in moderate hypoxaemic COPD patients.
Methods: We studied 170 consecutive moderate hypoxaemic COPD patients (PaO2 on room air and rest: 7.3-9.5 kPa), who were treated with HOT for at least one month. The patients were acting as their own control. Admission rates, days spent in hospital and number of patients with at least one hospitalization were compared in two periods of 10 months before and after initiation of HOT.
Results: The admission rates, number of days spent in hospital and number of patients with at least one hospitalization was not reduced (preoxygen period versus postoxygen period): 1.55 (2.00) versus 1.67 (2.26), 14.3 (19.9) versus 14.8 (23.7), and 60.6% versus 61.2%--P-level > 0.05 for all three parameters.
Conclusions: Our results do not support the hypothesis that home oxygen therapy reduces hospitalization in patients with COPD without severe hypoxaemia. However, as this is not a randomized study, we cannot exclude that oxygen therapy has prevented progression of the disease, and that without this therapy, the hospitalization could have been even higher.