Ambulatory oxygen for improving exercise capacity in patients with COPD
A Cochrane review 1 included 4 studies with a total of 331 subjects. In the intervention groups, the patients were on long-term (> 2 weeks) ambulatory domiciliary oxygen therapy. In the control groups the patients were given placebo air cylinders. Two studies showed a statistically and clinically significant benefit in favour of the intervention for dyspnoea post exercise. The quality of life domain for all four included studies produced a statistically significant benefit for the subcategories of dyspnoea and fatigue, in favour of the oxygen group (dyspnoea mean difference [MD] 0.28, 95% CI 0.10 to 0.45; fatigue MD 0.17, 95% CI 0.04 to 0.31). No evidence of any effect was reported for survival, and limited benefits were observed for exercise capacity as measured by step test and distance walk test.
Comment: The quality of evidence is downgraded by sparse data, indirectness of evidence, and potential reporting bias.
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