Long-term oxygen therapy 24 vs 15 h/day and mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) ≥ 15 h/day improves survival in hypoxemic chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). LTOT 24 h/day is often recommended but may pose an unnecessary burden with no clear survival benefit compared with LTOT 15 h/day. The aim was to test the hypothesis that LTOT 24 h/day decreases all-cause, respiratory, and cardiovascular mortality compared to LTOT 15 h/day in hypoxemic COPD. This was a prospective, observational, population-based study of COPD patients starting LTOT between October 1, 2005 and June 30, 2009 in Sweden. Overall and cause-specific mortality was analyzed using Cox and Fine-Gray regression, controlling for age, sex, prescribed oxygen dose, PaO2 (air), PaCO2 (air), Forced Expiratory Volume in one second (FEV1 ), WHO performance status, body mass index, comorbidity, and oral glucocorticoids. A total of 2,249 included patients were included with a median follow-up of 1.1 years (interquartile range, 0.6-2.1). 1,129 (50%) patients died and no patient was lost to follow-up. Higher LTOT duration analyzed as a continuous variable was not associated with any change in mortality rate (hazard ratio [HR] 1.00; (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.98 to 1.02) per 1 h/ day increase above 15 h/day. LTOT exactly 24 h/day was prescribed in 539 (24%) patients and LTOT 15-16 h/day in 1,231 (55%) patients. Mortality was similar between the groups for all-cause, respiratory and cardiovascular mortality. In hypoxemic COPD, LTOT 24 h/ day was not associated with a survival benefit compared with treatment 15-16 h/day. A design for a registry-based randomized trial (R-RCT) is proposed.


External organisations
  • Örebro University
  • Uppsala University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Respiratory Medicine and Allergy
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0163293
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Sep 1
Publication categoryResearch