Thirteen years' experience with home oxygen for patients with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease are reviewed. Home oxygen is safe and relieves pulmonary hypertension and elevated RBC mass in some, but not all patients. Marked clinical improvement is the most important result of long-term home oxygen use, including reduced hospitalizations and return to gainful employment for a few patients. Chronic compensated carbon dioxide retention is well tolerated and adaptive in cases of severe chronic airflow obstruction. New oxygen concentrators are effective in correcting hypoxemia and may make home oxygen administration more convenient and less expensive.
(Arch Intern Med 139:28-32, 1979)