Optimizing Home Oxygen Therapy. An Official American Thoracic Society Workshop Report

Ann Am Thorac Soc. 2018 Dec;15(12):1369-1381. doi: 10.1513/AnnalsATS.201809-627WS.


More than 1.5 million adults in the United States use supplemental oxygen for a variety of respiratory disorders to improve their quality of life and prolong survival. This document describes recommendations from a multidisciplinary workshop convened at the ATS International Conference in 2017 with the goal of optimizing home oxygen therapy for adults. Ideal supplemental oxygen therapy is patient-specific, provided by a qualified clinician, includes an individualized prescription and therapeutic education program, and offers oxygen systems that are safe, promote mobility, and treat hypoxemia. Recently, patients and clinicians report a growing number of problems with home oxygen in the United States. Oxygen users experience significant functional, mechanical, and financial problems and a lack of education related to their oxygen equipment-problems that impact their quality of life. Health care providers report a lack of readily accessible resources needed to prescribe oxygen systems correctly and efficiently. Patients with certain lung diseases are affected more than others because of physically unmanageable or inadequate portable systems. Analysis is needed to quantify the unintended impact that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Competitive Bidding Program has had on patients receiving supplemental oxygen from durable medical equipment providers. Studies using effectiveness and implementation research designs are needed to develop and evaluate new models for patient education, identify effective ways for stakeholders to interface, determine the economic benefit of having respiratory therapists perform in-home education and follow-up testing, and collaborate with technology companies to improve portable oxygen devices. Generation of additional evidence of the benefit of supplemental oxygen across the spectrum of advanced lung diseases and the development of clinical practice guidelines should both be prioritized.

Keywords: advocacy; competitive bidding; durable medical equipment; mobility; oxygen.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Education
  • Health Policy*
  • Home Care Services*
  • Humans
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy*
  • Patient Advocacy
  • United States