Last updated on August 2009

LTOT in COPD Patients With Moderate Chronic Hypoxemia and Chronic Heart Failure

Brief description of study

In patients with both COPD and CHF, moderate chronic hypoxemia is caused by a combination of intrapulmonary and extrapulmonary factors. The hypothesis of this study is that adequate medical therapy for both conditions can correct the moderate hypoxemia by improving the underlying mechanisms without the need of LTOT. If this hypothesis is correct, the study will provide a valuable information to the Italian Agency of drugs (Agenzia Italiana del Farmaco, AIFA) to reduce the inappropriate use of LTOT for COPD patients with moderate hypoxemia and CHF, and will help the Italian National Health Service to reduce both the direct and indirect costs of unnecessary LTOT.

Detailed Study Description

Long-term oxygen treatment (LTOT) improves survival of COPD patients with severe hypoxemia . The improved survival was proven in COPD patients with severe chronic hypoxemia (PaO2< or = 55 mmHg), providing oxygen was delivered for = or >15 hours/day. Since then, > 15 hours/day LTOT has become the standard treatment for COPD patients with severe hypoxemia. LTOT has been extended without evidence to COPD patients with moderate hypoxemia (55< PaO2 <60mmHg), when associated with some clinical and laboratory signs of cardiac diseases and to patients with decreased oxygen saturation (SO2 < 90%) during exercise or sleep. Chronic heart failure (CHF) is a common co-morbidity of COPD (>30% ) particularly in the elderly. Whether LTOT improves survival in patients with moderate chronic hypoxemia and CHF is unknown. This is an issue of concern because of the potential importance of LTOT in severe COPD, and of the cost of LTOT (about Euro 250 millions/year in Italy). The aim of this 3 year randomized clinical trial is to investigate whether, in COPD patients with moderate hypoxemia associated with CHF treatment including LTOT is no different from treatment without LTOT in term of survival and of exacerbations, hospitalizations, and quality of life. The study will be conducted in 76 Italian hospital pulmonary units, and will start on May 15th 2008 and end on October 31st 2012. One thousand stable COPD patients treated according to COPD and CHF international guidelines will be randomized to treatment including LTOT (Study Group) or treatment without LTOT (Control Group). All patients will regularly undergo clinical assessment, arterial blood gases (3 monthly), and Saint George's Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ, 6 monthly),and will be contacted with monthly telephone calls. Considering 1) the lack of evidence supporting LTOT in COPD patients with moderate hypoxemia and CHF, 2) the pathophysiology of CHF , and 3) the improvement of pharmacological treatment of both COPD and CHF, we expect that, after optimization of medical therapy, LTOT will not improve survival or frequency and severity of exacerbations and/or hospitalization, and not even quality of life due to the balance of small clinical benefits (improved exercise tolerance, better sleep) with the inconveniences associated with LTOT. This non-inferiority study is powered on survival, which is the primary outcome of the study.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT00668408

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Antonio Corrado, MD

A.O. Universitaria ospedali riuniti di Trieste
Trieste, Italy
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