Oxygen Supplementation in COPD Exacerbation with Hypoxia and Hypercapnia: What Does the Evidence Show?
AbstractChronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is projected to be the third leading cause of mortality worldwide in 2020, with an annual healthcare expenditure of $50 billion in the United States alone.1,2 Acute exacerbation of COPD (AECOPD), characterized by worsening cough, sputum production, and breathlessness (beyond day-to-day variation), is frequently associated with hypoxic and hypercapnic respiratory failure.3 The inpatient mortality of patients with hypercapnic respiratory failure approaches 10%.1 Severe exacerbations requiring hospitalizations are commonly treated with bronchodilators, oxygen supplementation, systemic steroids, and antibiotics. Oxygen supplementation for hypoxia with concomitant hypercapnia has been a matter of relative uncertainty for many decades.
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