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Eur Respir J. 1998 Dec;12(6):1284-9.

Domiciliary liquid oxygen versus concentrator treatment in chronic hypoxaemia: a cost-utility analysis.

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  • 1Center for Medical Technology Assessment, Linköping University, Sweden.


Whether long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) improves quality of life in chronic hypoxaemia has been questioned. LTOT with an oxygen concentrator (C/C) and gas cylinders for ambulation is considered cumbersome compared to mobile liquid oxygen equipment (L). The hypothesis for this study was that LTOT with liquid oxygen treatment (L) improves patients' health-related quality of life, but that it is also more expensive compared to concentrator (C/C) treatment. A prospective, randomized multicentre trial comparing C/C with L for LTOT was conducted during a six-month period. Fifty-one patients (29 on L and 22 on C/C) with chronic hypoxaemia, regularly active outside the home, participated in the study initially. Costs for oxygen were obtained from the pharmacies. Patient diaries and telephone contacts with members of the healthcare sector were used to estimate costs. Health-related quality of life was measured by the Sickness Impact Profile (SIP) and the EuroQol, instruments at the start and after 6 months. The average total cost per patient for group C/C for the six-month period was US$1,310, and for group L it was US$4,950. Health-related quality of life measured by the SIP instrument showed significant differences in favour of group L in the categories/dimensions of physical function, body care, ambulation, social interaction and total SIP score. In conclusion, liquid-oxygen treatment was more expensive compared to concentrator treatment. However, treatment effects showed that liquid oxygen had a better impact on quality of life.

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