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COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease)

Long term effects of hypoxia

10/24/2007

Question:

I have mild emphysema with an asthma component and require night time O2 at 1 liter. Many times the cannula will fall off during the night and I awake with no O2 attached. Also, I do not travel with O2 and do not use it at lower altitudes. I realize oxygen deprivation causes my heart to work harder but I have no heart issues currently, have low blood pressure and do not smoke. I take Spiriva only. My question is what are the long term effects of not using O2 as my doctor directs?

Answer:

Long-term oxygen therapy has proven benefit for people with severe emphysema and severely reduced oxygen levels.  However, in your particular case (mild emphysema, with low oxygen at night), we really don't know if there are any benefits of oxygen or any long term adverse effects of not using oxygen.  You might want to discuss this in more detail with your doctor.

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Response by:

Mahasti   Rittinger, RRT Mahasti Rittinger, RRT
Clinical Program Manager of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University

Phillip T Diaz, MD Phillip T Diaz, MD
Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University