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Audit, research and guideline update
Oxygen for relief of dyspnoea in people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease who would not qualify for home oxygen: a systematic review and meta-analysis
  1. Hope E Uronis1,
  2. Magnus P Ekström2,3,
  3. David C Currow3,
  4. Douglas C McCrory4,5,
  5. Gregory P Samsa6,
  6. Amy P Abernethy1,3
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  2. 2Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Respiratory Medicine & Allergology, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
  3. 3Discipline, Palliative and Supportive Services, Flinders University, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  4. 4Health Services Research and Development, Durham Veteran's Affairs Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  5. 5Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  6. 6Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Amy P Abernethy, Duke University Medical Center, Box 3436, Durham, NC 27710 USA; amy.abernethy{at}


We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register to determine whether oxygen relieves dyspnoea in mildly or non-hypoxemic COPD and included 18 randomised controlled trials (431 participants) in the meta-analysis using Cochrane methodology. Oxygen therapy reduced dyspnoea when compared with medical air; standardised mean difference −0.37 (95% CI −0.50 to −0.24; I2=14%). In a priori subgroup and sensitivity analyses, dyspnoea was reduced by continuous oxygen during exertion but not short-burst oxygen therapy. Continuous exertional oxygen can relieve dyspnoea in mildly or non-hypoxemic COPD, but evidence from larger clinical trials is needed.

  • COPD Pharmacology
  • Long Term Oxygen Therapy (LTOT)
  • Palliative Care
  • Short Burst Oxygen Therapy

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