Oxygen therapy during exercise training is no better than medical air in improving exercise capacity and quality of life in people with COPD, a randomised trial presented at TSANZSRS 2018 reveals.
The findings show that people with COPD who are not on long-term oxygen therapy but desaturate during exercise can attend exercise training in venues that do not provide oxygen.
Led by Jennifer Alison, a Professor of Respiratory Physiotherapy at the University of Sydney, the multi centre blinded trial involved 111 patients who were randomised to an oxygen (n=52) or medical air group (n=45).
Study participants had an average age of 69 and had an FEV1/FVC of 0.43 and an FEV1 of 46% predicted.
Both groups received their allocated air through nasal prongs at 5 litres a minute during a treadmill and cycling exercise that they undertook three times a week for 8 weeks.
Exercise capacity was measured using the endurance shuttle walk test (ESWT) and quality of life was assessed using the Chronic Respiratory Questionnaire (CRQ).
At 8 week follow-up exercise capacity and health-related quality of life improved significantly in both groups, the research team found.
But no greater benefit was seen from training with supplemental oxygen than with medical air.
It’s a finding that surprised the researchers, who expected to discover that oxygen might help people with COPD train at a higher exercise intensity.
Speaking to the limbic, Professor Alison said the take home message from the trial was that for people with COPD who desaturate during exercise and are not on long-term oxygen therapy can attend rehabilitation centres that do not provide oxygen.
“With the expectation that patients will gain significant improvements in exercise capacity and health-related quality of life,” she said.