Oxygen Supplementation in COPD Exacerbation with Hypoxia and Hypercapnia: What Does the Evidence Show?

Authors: Biplab K. Saha, MD, Alyssa Bonnier, RN, BSN, Woon H. Chong, MD


Chronic 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.
Posted in: Infectious Disease53 Pulmonary Disease14

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