Introduction: In long term oxygen therapy (LTOT) two oxygen sources are used, i.e. the stationary oxygen concentrator (OC) and portable liquid oxygen (LO). Polish NHS reimburses stationary oxygen sources only. The aim of this study was to compare the effect of change from OC into LO in patients treated using LTOT.
Material and methods: The study involved 30 patients qualified to LTOT. The degree of dyspnoea intensity, (MRC, Borg scale), exercise tolerance (6MWT), fitness, daily use of oxygen therapy, red blood count, lung function, number of exacerbations as well as health related quality of life (SGRQ) were assessed before introduction of LTOT, after 6 months of oxygen therapy using OC and after 6 months from change into LO.
Results: During first 6 months RBC decreased from 5.4 to 5.1 (p < 0.0001), HTC from 50.1% to 47.8% (p < 0.0001), 6MWD increased from 337.7 to 378.7 m (p < 0.0001), SGRQ score improved from 72.1 points to 64.4 points (p < 0.0001). Treatment with LO resulted in further improvement in studied parameters: RBC decreased from 5.1 to 4.8 (p < 0.0001), HTC from 47.8% to 44.3% (p < 0.0001), 6MWD increased from 378.7 m to 413 m (p < 0.0001), SGRQ score improved from 64.4 points to 54.9 points (p < 0.0001). Significant increase in daily oxygen breathing hours from 13.7 to 18.9 (p < 0.0001) was also observed.
Conclusions: Use of liquid oxygen enables oxygen therapy at home and during ambulation and increases oxygen breathing hours, thus improving red blood count, exercise capacity and health related quality of life.