Less is More: Do Patients With COPD and Moderate Resting or Exercise-induced Desaturation Benefit From Long-term Supplemental Oxygen Therapy?

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Synopsis: Although long-term supplemental oxygen for patients with COPD and severe resting oxygen desaturation is associated with reduced mortality, it has remained unclear whether patients with moderate desaturation would derive a similar benefit. This large, randomized clinical trial demonstrated that long-term supplemental oxygen in patients with moderate resting or exercise-induced desaturations has neither reduced time to mortality nor time to first hospitalization for any cause. Furthermore, it provided no reduction in the incidence of COPD exacerbations and no improvement in lung function, quality of life, or functional status. These findings potentially alter practice patterns for this subset of patients with COPD.

Source: The Long-Term Oxygen Treatment Trial Research Group. A randomized trial of long-term oxygen for COPD with moderate desaturation. N Engl J Med. 2016;375:1617–1627.

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