Supplemental Oxygen in Interstitial Lung Disease: An Art in Need of Science
Interstitial lung disease (ILD) comprises a large and heterogeneous group of disorders that often lead to progressive fibrosis and premature death. Oxygen supplementation is typically used in patients with advanced lung disease with resting hypoxemia; however, there is a paucity of evidence guiding the use of supplemental oxygen in ILD, and significant heterogeneity in clinical practice. It remains unclear whether supplemental oxygen improves clinically meaningful outcomes, and the role of ambulatory oxygen supplementation in isolated exertional hypoxemia is particularly controversial. In some regions, the lack of robust data creates barriers to funding support and access to supplemental oxygen for patients with ILD. Further research into the role of oxygen supplementation is needed to optimize the comprehensive care of this patient population.