Oxygen Therapy - Negative Effects - Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Care needs to be exercised in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, such as emphysema, especially in those known to retain carbon dioxide (type II respiratory failure). Such patients may further accumulate carbon dioxide and decreased pH (hypercapnation) if administered supplemental oxygen, possibly endangering their lives. This is primarily as a result of ventilation–perfusion imbalance (see Effect of oxygen on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). In the worst case, administration of high levels of oxygen in patients with severe emphysema and high blood carbon dioxide reduces respiratory drive to the point of precipitating respiratory failure, and eventual death. However the risk of the loss of respiratory drive are far outweighed by the risks of withholding emergency oxygen, and therefore emergency administration of oxygen is never contraindicated. Transfer from field care to definitive care, where oxygen use can be carefully calibrated, typically occurs long before significant reductions to the respiratory drive.

A recent study has shown that titrated oxygen therapy (controlled administration of oxygen) may be more appropriate for COPD patients, and less of a danger to them. The study also showed that other, non-COPD patients, may also, in some cases, benefit more from titrated therapy. However, the results are not conclusive, and may have no statistical relevance when adjusted for proper protocol usage.

Read more about this topic:  Oxygen Therapy, Negative Effects

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