Long-Term Home Oxygen Therapy in Children: Evidences and Open Issues

Lia Oliveira, Joana Coelho, Rosário Ferreira, Teresa Nunes, Ana Saianda, Luisa Pereira, Teresa Bandeira


Introduction: Long-term home oxygen therapy is indicated for patients with chronic hypoxemia. We intend to describe pediatric population on long-term home oxygen therapy followed-up at Pediatric Respiratory Unit of a tertiary care hospital between 2003-2012 and to compare with previous 1991-2000 review; to verify conformity with international and national recommendations and need for specific pediatric national guidelines, non-existent in Portugal.
Material and Methods: Retrospective, descriptive and comparative study based on clinical files review. Review the guidelines for oxygen therapy in pediatric population.
Results: We studied 86 patients (59.3% males). The median age at the beginning of oxygen therapy was 0.0 (0.0-216.0) months, with a median duration of 15.0 (3.0-223.0) months. The most frequent diagnosis was bronchopulmonary dysplasia (53.5%), followed by bronchiolitis obliterans (14.0%), neurologic disorders (10.5%), cystic fibrosis (8.1%), miscellaneous syndromes (5.8%), sickle-cell disease (3.5%), other neonatal lung diseases (2.3%) and interstitial lung diseases (2.3%). Are maintained on follow-up 53 (61.6%) patients, 38 on oxygen therapy; 12 (13.9%) died. The median time of follow-up was 39.5 (1.0-246.0) months, minim on other neonatal lung diseases and maximum on cystic fibrosis. Comparing with previous review, this shows a relative increase in bronchiolitis obliterans and bronchopulmonary dysplasia patients, with increased duration in the latter, and inclusion of neurologic and hematologic patients.
Discussion: Prescription of long-term oxygen therapy in pediatric age mainly occurs in specific diseases of infants and pre-school aged. Neurologic and hematologic patients represent new indications, similarly to international publications.
Conclusion: The knowledge of national reality and pediatric orientations are needed for care plans and rational prescription.
Keywords: Child; Long-Term Care; Respiratory Insufficiency; Oxygen Inhalation Therapy; Portugal.

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