Use of supplemental oxygen during exercise testing and training for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a survey of Australian pulmonary rehabilitation programs
Regina W.M., Leung, J., Alison, A., Jenkins, S., Holland, AE., Hill, K., Norman, NR et al.
Objectives: The aims of this study were to determine, in Australian pulmonary rehabilitation programs for people with COPD: (1) whether oxygen saturation (SpO2) was monitored during exercise testing; (2) whether supplemental oxygen was available during exercise testing and/or training; (3) whether oxygen was prescribed during exercise training; and the reason for providing oxygen; (4) whether a protocol was available for supplemental oxygen prescription during exercise training.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional multi-center study using a purposed-designed survey. De-identified survey data were analyzed and the absolute number and percentage of responses were recorded for each question.
Results: The survey was sent to 261 pulmonary rehabilitation programs and 142 surveys (54%) were available for analysis. Oxygen saturation was monitored during exercise testing in 92% of programs. Supplemental oxygen was available in the majority of programs during exercise testing (82%) and training (84%). The rationale cited by 87 programs (73%) for prescribing oxygen during exercise training was maintaining SpO2 above a threshold ranging from SpO2 80–88%. Forty-five (32%) programs had a protocol for oxygen prescription during exercise training.
Conclusion: While monitoring of SpO2 during exercise testing and using supplemental oxygen during testing and training is common in Australian pulmonary rehabilitation programs, few programs had a protocol in place for the prescription of supplemental oxygen for people with COPD who were not on long-term oxygen therapy. This may be due to lack of strong evidence to support the use of supplemental oxygen during exercise training.