COPD Deaths Drop with Titrated Oxygen Therapy

A study published in October on the British Medical Journal website compared standard high-flow oxygen treatment to titrated oxygen treatment for patients with acute exacerbation of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the prehospital setting.1 Conducted in Australia, the study included 405 presumed COPD patients who were treated by paramedics and transported to a hospital.


The investigators found that the risk of death was lower in patients treated with the titrated oxygen compared to high-flow oxygen. “Titrated oxygen treatment reduced mortality compared with high flow oxygen by 58% for all patients and by 78% for patients with confirmed COPD. “¦ These results provide strong evidence to recommend the routine use of titrated oxygen treatment in patients with breathlessness and a history or clinical likelihood of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the prehospital setting,” they said.


  1. Austin MA , Willis KE , Blizzard L , et al.   Effect of high flow oxygen on mortality in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease patients in prehospital setting: Randomised controlled trial. BMJ. 2010;341:c5462. doi:10.1136/bmj.c5462

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