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In Oxygen-Dependent COPD, Mortality Has Increased

Mortality overall, from non-respiratory causes up since long-term oxygen treatment introduced

THURSDAY, Feb. 10 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with oxygen-dependent chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) on long-term oxygen treatment (LTOT), overall mortality and mortality from non-respiratory causes have increased over time, according to research published online Jan. 7 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

Magnus P. Ekström, M.D., of Blekinge Hospital in Karlskrona, Sweden, and colleagues followed 7,628 patients starting LTOT for COPD a median of 1.7 years (range, 0 to 18 years) to test for time trends in cause-specific mortality in this patient population. They hypothesized that, because the proportion of women and the age of patients starting LTOT has increased markedly since the introduction of LTOT in COPD with chronic hypoxia, there may have been shifts in the causes of death over time.

During the course of the study, 5,457 patients died, with a yearly increase of 1.6 percent in crude overall mortality. The researchers found that the absolute risk of death for circulatory disease, digestive organ disease, respiratory disease, and lung cancer increased by 2.8, 7.8, 2.7, and 3.4 percent, respectively.

"In oxygen-dependent COPD, mortality has increased over time both overall and of non-respiratory causes, including cardiovascular disease. This highlights the importance of optimized diagnostics and treatment of comorbidities in order to decrease morbidity and mortality," the authors write.

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