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Proper Home Oxygen Therapy for Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

by len king on May 10, 2023

Proper Home Oxygen Therapy for Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a common, preventable and treatable disease characterised by persistent breathing symptoms and restricted airflow, often associated with long-term smoking, indoor and outdoor pollution and occupational factors.

The symptoms are chronic cough, sputum and dyspnoea. Especially now that winter has set in, the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are more likely to worsen when cold air is encountered. Apart from medication, home oxygen therapy is also very important for patients.

What is home oxygen therapy?
Home oxygen therapy is the administration of oxygen at home to patients who require long-term oxygen, not only to increase oxygen saturation and improve the symptoms of hypoxia, but also to improve survival and quality of life. Home oxygen therapy is usually indicated for the home treatment of diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, bronchial asthma and chronic bronchitis. Many patients do not know what to look for in home oxygen therapy, so today we will introduce the dos and don'ts of home oxygen therapy.

Who needs home oxygen therapy?
Home oxygen therapy cannot be generalised and many patients do not realise the importance of home oxygen therapy for their disease. However, according to the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung (GIABL), patients with a stable lung need long-term home oxygen therapy if they meet any of the following two criteria, which can be determined by a blood gas analysis at your local hospital
Arterial partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2) ≤ 55 mmHg or arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2) ≤ 88%, with or without hypercapnia.
PaO2 of 55-60 mmHg or SaO2 <89% with pulmonary hypertension, right heart failure or erythrocytosis (haematocrit >0.55

Precautions for oxygen therapy for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
There are a few things to note when administering home oxygen therapy to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease:

1. Safety of oxygen therapy
There is a potential risk of fire and explosion with home oxygen therapy, so oxygen users should stop smoking. Users should familiarise themselves with the correct use of oxygen therapy devices and follow the correct instructions from their doctor.

2. Preventing infection
The oxygen supply unit should be used by a dedicated person and care should be taken to regularly disinfect the oxygen supply unit, oxygen administration equipment and wetting devices including nasal cannulae, nasal plugs and wetting bottles.

3. Inhalation gas humidification
Because most of the oxygen released from compressed oxygen cylinders has a humidity of less than 40%. This is why it is also necessary to connect a bubble-type humidification bottle when inhaling oxygen at low flow rates.

4. Comprehensive treatment programme
Home oxygen therapy for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can only improve tissue hypoxia and correct positive hypoxaemia. To further improve the patient's prognosis, a combination of therapeutic measures such as strengthening of the body, respiratory muscle exercises and the use of bronchodilators should be taken.

5. Check the nasal cannula for patency
It is important to check the nasal cannula regularly to ensure that it is clear if there is a blockage of secretions that can affect inhalation.

6. Keep your mouth closed during nasal congestion or nasal cannula oxygen inhalation
Breathing through the mouth not only affects the concentration of inhaled oxygen, but also tends to dry the mouth.

7. Be careful not to run out of oxygen
In case the oxygen cylinder is re-inflated, dust and other impurities can easily enter the cylinder and cause an explosion. So do not use up all the oxygen in the cylinder.


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