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Surgery virus mask Expanded Use Of Home Oxygen Therapy Could Save Lives

Two recent large scale studies of the effects of long-term home oxygen therapy have been launched during the past year by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NFLBI) and the non-profit research organization the Rand Corporation. Although oxygen therapy has been available for decades, it’s benefits are becoming more widely understood. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the 4th leading cause of death in the United States.

Late last year, the NHLBI unveiled the largest randomized clinical trial of the effectiveness and safety of long-term home oxygen therapy for COPD patients. The $28 million, 6-year project will study patients with moderate lung disease. The study will involve approximately 3,500 patients across the United States with moderate COPD to determine whether home oxygen therapy will help patients live longer and more active lives. Contract awards were given to 14 field sites to conduct the study.

The 14 field study sites awarded contracts are:

* Brigham & Women’s Hospital (John Reilly, M.D.)

* Cleveland Clinic Foundation (James Stoller, M.D., M.S.)

* Denver Health Medical Center (Rick Albert, M.D.)

* Duke University (Neil MacIntyre, M.D.)

* Kaiser Permanente Northwest (Thomas Stibolt, M.D.)

* Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (Richard Casaburi, M.D.)

* Ohio State University (Philip Diaz, M.D.)

* Temple University (Gerard Criner, M.D.)

* University of Alabama at Birmingham (J. Allen Cooper, Jr., M.D.)

* University of Michigan (Fernando J. Martinez, M.D., M.S.)

* University of Pittsburgh (Frank Sciurba, M.D.)

* University of Utah (Richard Kanner, M.D.)

* University of Washington (David Au, M.D., M.S.)

* Washington University (Roger Yusen, M.D., M.P.H.)

About 12 million adults in the United States have been diagnosed with COPD, while another 12 million are believed to be undiagnosed. Approximately 1 million COPD patients in the United States are currenty receiving oxygen therapy. Studies show that Americans with chronic obstructive lung disease received only 55% of recommended care. Many individuals who have COPD don’t even kmow they have it. They brush off the primary symptom, shortness of breath, as a sign of aging or being out of shape. The Rand study estimated that 27,000 to 54,000 annual deaths in the United States from COPD may have been reduced by appropriate oxygen use. According to Dr. Robert A. Wise of Johns Hopkins University: “We may not be able to get them to 100 percent, but we can almost always get them to be a lot more self-sufficient, and that’s what a lot of patients with COPD are concerned about. It’s not just shortness of breath; it’s the loss of independence.”

The Rand study also determinedthat only 32% of COPD patients with baseline hypoxia received home oxygen therapy for routine management. James Kiley, PhD., Director of the NHLBI, remarks: “As the population ages, the number of individuals affected by COPD is on the rise. It is more imperative than ever that we find treatments that will improve the health and function of patients with chronic lung diseases such as COPD.”

One of the most popular methods of receiving home oxygen therapy is the oxygen concentrator. Oxygen concentrators simply plug into a standard electrical outlet, eliminating the need for oxygen tanks and deliveries. Portable oxygen concentrators offer even greater mobility; some models can be plugged into your car’s accessory outlet or can be used with re-chargeable batteries. The Inogen One is a portable oxygen concentrator with these advanced features.

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