The feasibility of self-performing measurements of peripheral oxygen saturation and respiratory exercises in home-isolated COVID-19 patients-a single-arm prospective trial

Pilot Feasibility Stud. 2023 Dec 2;9(1):195. doi: 10.1186/s40814-023-01415-x.


Background: COVID-19 is a highly contagious disease where isolation of infected individuals is deemed warranted. If possible, home isolation is preferred over hospitalization. This implies a need for methods of observation that can ensure the safety of these patients. Preventive treatment methods that can both decrease the probability for development of critical disease and hopefully decrease the need for hospitalization would be an added benefit. This was a single-arm prospective pilot study performed to assess the feasibility of performing self-measurements of SpO2 and respiratory exercises in at-home isolated COVID-19 patients.

Method: A total of 40 ambulant SARS-CoV-2-positive individuals in home isolation were followed up for a period of 14 days. At baseline, they were equipped with a pulse oximeter, PEF meter, a project diary to note all measurements, and simple instructions on how to perform respiratory exercises. No other contact was made, but participants were instructed to contact the hospital based on given criteria for blood oxygenation levels and dyspnea severity and to return study equipment and the project diary at the end of study.

Results: During the follow-up period, 35 participants (87.5%) recorded daily SpO2 measurements, and 12 (30%) adhered to daily respiratory exercises as instructed. Four participants (10%) were admitted to hospital during the follow-up period. Five participants terminated follow-up prematurely.

Conclusions: Performing self-measurements of SpO2 during home isolation due to COVID-19 infection is feasible. The feasibility of performing respiratory exercises in ambulant patients is questionable and may require more motivational interventions to increase adherence.

Trial registration: identifier: NCT04647747.

Keywords: COVID-19; Feasibility; Respiratory exercises; Self-measurements; Silent hypoxia.

Associated data