Burn Injury Associated With Home Oxygen Use in Patients With Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

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To quantify the risk of burn injury associated with home oxygen use and to examine the risk factors associated with the development of this injury.

Patients and Methods:

We used a nested case-control and a retrospective cohort design to study enrollment and claims data from a national sample of Medicare beneficiaries 66 years and older with a diagnosis of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) from January 1, 2001, through December 31, 2010. The primary outcome was burn injury in patients with COPD prescribed home oxygen.


In the nested case-control method, patients with burn injury were twice (odds ratio, 2.43; 95% CI, 1.57-3.78) as likely to be prescribed oxygen in the preceding 90 days compared with those without burn injury. In the retrospective cohort study, the absolute risk of burn injury in patients prescribed oxygen therapy was 2.98 per 1000 patients compared with 1.69 per 1000 patients not prescribed oxygen during a 22-month period. The excess risk of a burn injury associated with oxygen was 0.704 per 1000 patients per year, and the number needed to harm was 1421. In multivariable analysis, factors associated with burn injury included male sex, low socioeconomic status, oxygen therapy use, and the presence of 3 or more comorbidities.


The benefits of oxygen therapy in patients with COPD outweigh the modest risk of burn injury associated with home oxygen use. However, with the increasing number of patients being prescribed oxygen, health care professionals must educate and counsel patients regarding the potential risk of burn injury.

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