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Palliat Med. 2003 Dec;17(8):659-63.

A randomized controlled trial of supplemental oxygen versus air in cancer patients with dyspnea.

Author information

  • 1Department of Palliative Care and Rehabilitation Medicine, Unit 8, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, 1515 Holcombe Blvd, Houston, TX 77030, USA. ebruera@mdanderson.org

Abstract

CONTEXT:

The symptomatic benefits of oxygen in patients with cancer who have nonhypoxic dyspnea are not well defined.

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether or not oxygen is more effective than air in decreasing dyspnea and fatigue and increasing distance walked during a 6-minute walk test.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Patients with advanced cancer who had no severe hypoxemia (i.e., had an O2 saturation level of > or = 90%) at rest and had a dyspnea intensity of > or = 3 on a scale of 0-10 (0 = no shortness of breath, 10 = worst imaginable shortness of breath) were recruited from an outpatient thoracic clinic at a comprehensive cancer center. This was a double-blind, randomized crossover trial. Supplemental oxygen or air (5 L/min) was administered via nasal cannula during a 6-minute walk test. The outcome measures were dyspnea at 3 and 6 minutes, fatigue at 6 minutes, and distance walked. We also measured oxygen saturation levels at baseline, before second treatment phase, and at the end of study.

RESULTS:

In 33 evaluable patients (31 with lung cancer), no significant differences between treatment groups were observed in dyspnea, fatigue, or distance walked (dyspnea at 3 minutes: P = 0.61; dyspnea, fatigue, and distance walked at 6 minutes: P = 0.81, 0.37, and 0.23, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS:

Currently, the routine use of supplemental oxygen for dyspnea during exercise in this patient population cannot be recommended.

PMID:
14694916
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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