Key learning points

  • The British Thoracic Society recommends home oxygen in adults with chronic hypoxaemia
  • Patients with resting oxygen saturations above 92% are unlikely to require long-term oxygen therapy
  • A home oxygen order form (HOOF) A should be used when ordering temporary palliative home oxygen

The British Thoracic Society (BTS) guidelines for home oxygen in adults recommend that oxygen therapy for home use is most useful in chronic hypoxaemia.1,2 Long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) is prescribed to improve survival in patients with hypoxia. LTOT is a treatment for hypoxia but not for breathlessness,2 yet many people with breathlessness are unnecessarily prescribed oxygen and will not benefit. Patients with resting saturations above 92% are unlikely to require LTOT.2

Risks of LTOT

Oxygen as a therapy has some risks. There is the danger of the ‘carbon dioxide retainer’ in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). For such patients, to little