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Chest. 2011 Feb;139(2):430-4. doi: 10.1378/chest.10-0242.

Long-term oxygen therapy.

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  • 1Clinical Faculty of the Division of Pulmonary/Critical Care, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, CO, USA.


This article provides an overview of the status of long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT). In the United States, payment cutbacks are occurring as a result of congressionally mandated competitive bidding and capped rental programs. These Medicare programs are discussed. These legislative and regulatory changes may result in reduced patient access to appropriate oxygen-delivery systems that meet medical needs, including optimal ambulation. Prescribing LTOT is addressed in this article, as is the need for adequate patient education. The importance of appropriate monitoring and reassessment is presented. The use of an LTOT collaborative care model is discussed. Although the new intermittent flow oxygen-delivery systems have potential benefits, there is consensus that each patient should be tested on the specific device because of variability in delivery and patient response. Feasible locations for patient education and monitoring are identified.

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