Objective: To evaluate the health-related quality of life of patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease receiving long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) at home through oxygen cylinders and compare these results with those obtained six months after the transition from oxygen cylinders to oxygen concentrators.
Methods: A total of 45 patients were evaluated. Of those, 24 had chronic hypoxemia and 21 presented no evidence of hypoxemia. The patients with chronic hypoxemia had been regularly receiving LTOT for at least the last six months and were evaluated at baseline, while using cylinders, and six months after the transition from cylinders to concentrators. The non-hypoxemic patients were evaluated at the same time points as were the hypoxemic patients. In order to evaluate quality of life, a version of the Saint George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), translated and validated for use in Brazil, was administered.
Results: At baseline, quality of life, as evaluated using the total score and the symptom and impact domain scores of the SGRQ, was more impaired in the hypoxemic patients than in the non-hypoxemic patients. After six months of using the concentrators, the hypoxemic patients presented a significant improvement in the quality of life, and, at that time, no difference was found between the patients with and without hypoxemia.
Conclusion: Our findings show that quality of life is impaired in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and chronic hypoxemia, that their quality of life can be improved through regular use of LTOT, and that the oxygen delivery system has an influence on this improvement.