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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Oxygen Therapy

03/15/2011

Question:

My father is 80 years-old and was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis three years ago. He always has excellent oxygen saturation but has been given oxygen therapy at home to have as a comfort. He is becoming very dependent on this and having it all the time and at night. We tell him he doesn’t need it but he panics without it.

I’m so worried that this is causing him more harm. What is a safe amount?

Answer:

Oxygen is given when the oxygen saturation falls below 89% either at rest, while sleeping, or with exercise. In general, insurance companies and Medicare will only pay for oxygen if there is documentation that the saturation is low. In patients with pulmonary fibrosis, if the oxygen saturation only falls periodically, then in general, it is not harmful to wear it throughout the day. 

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University