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BTS guidelines for home oxygen in children
  1. I M Balfour-Lynn,
  2. D J Field,
  3. P Gringras,
  4. B Hicks,
  5. E Jardine,
  6. R C Jones,
  7. A G Magee,
  8. R A Primhak,
  9. M P Samuels,
  10. N J Shaw,
  11. S Stevens,
  12. C Sullivan,
  13. J A Taylor,
  14. C Wallis,
  15. on behalf of the Paediatric Section of the Home Oxygen Guideline Development Group of the BTS Standards of Care Committee
  1. Dr I M Balfour-Lynn, Department of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Trust, Sydney Street, London SW3 6NP, UK; i.balfourlynn{at}

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“… as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know.” D Rumsfeld, 2002


1.1 Aims and target audience

The aims of these guidelines are to present the evidence base for the practice of administering supplemental oxygen to children outside hospital and to make recommendations for best practice. For many aspects high-quality evidence is lacking, and suggestions are made based on clinical experience. It is hoped the guideline will highlight areas where research is needed to further inform clinicians. The target audience is clinicians who prescribe home oxygen for children, principally those in hospital practice. It is also intended for other professionals involved with the whole process, which may include community paediatricians, paediatric neurodisability specialists, nurse specialists, school nurses, occupational therapists and physiotherapists; this is reflected by the multidisciplinary nature of the guideline committee (section 13).

1.2 Methodology for generation of the guidelines

The initial literature search was carried out by the Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at the University of York. Further searches were then carried out by members of the working group who concentrated on their own topics. Details of the search strategy are given in Appendix 1 available online.

Each section of the guideline was researched and drafted by a subgroup of the Paediatric Section of the British Thoracic Society (BTS) Home Oxygen Guideline Development Group (itself a subcommittee of the BTS Standards of Care Committee). Publications were rated according to the SIGN 50 criteria for the calibre of the methodology of the research to give levels of evidence (see box 1). Once all parts were merged into one document, the whole group then met to discuss the first …

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