1. Karki, Apurwa MD
  2. Morante, Joaquin MD
  3. Cervellione, Kelly L. MA, MPhil
  4. Ullah, Tofura MD
  5. Patel, Viral MD, MPH
  6. Fein, Alan M. MD


Purpose: Long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) is widely used to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and other conditions with severe hypoxemia, imposing a large financial burden on the American health care system.


Methods: To better understand oxygen prescription and its use in a multiethnic community hospital, we completed a prospective, observational study with a survey design in our multicultural population to better recognize patient understanding of oxygen indications and utilization.


Results: The survey was conducted at three outpatient pulmonary clinics. Among the 94 respondents (42% men and 58% women; age 71.8 +/- 13 yr), 64% were current or former smokers. Sixty-one percent had primary diagnoses other than COPD, most commonly interstitial lung disease and congestive heart failure. One-third used oxygen for <12 hr daily. Oxygen use was variable among those to whom it was prescribed. Thirty-two percent of patients described themselves as noncompliant with their prescribed therapy due to poor equipment ergonomics, burdensome machine weight, and negative self-image and social stigma when using oxygen.


Conclusions: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease represented <50% of LTOT patients who were surveyed. Our data suggest that more structured prescribing practices and patient education should be studied if compliance is to be increased.