The Effect of Oxygen Therapy on 6MWD in PAH and CTEPH Patients With Hypoxemia (SOPHA)

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    Heidelberg University
Updated on 29 March 2023
pulmonary disease
arterial occlusion
pulmonary arterial hypertension
o2 saturation


Treatment of O2 naïve patients with PAH will be included in this investigator-initiated trial (IIT) to assess efficacy and safety of oxygen substitution. Nocturnal oxygen substitution improved the 6MWD compared to placebo in one clinical trial in PAH patients. Due to the positive results in the treatment of patients with PAH, the initiation of this proof-of-concept study is justified.


Most patients with PAH, except those with congenital heart defects and pulmonary-to-systemic shunts, have minor degrees of hypoxemia at rest and during the night.Current recommendations including the pneumological guidelines for LTOT are based on evidence in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as data for patients with PH are lacking: When O2 partial pressure is repeatedly <8 kPa (<60 mmHg, alternatively, 90% of O2 saturation), patients are advised to use O2 to achieve a saturation of >8 kPa. The use of ambulatory O2 can be considered when there is evidence of a symptomatic response or correction of exercise-induced desaturation.

There are only few studies investigating the effect of oxygen supply in pulmonary hypertension, most of which merely investigate acute effects of O2 administration. Short-term oxygen administration has been shown to reduce mean pulmonary arterial pressure, pulmonary vascular resistance and to increase cardiac output in PAH patients. In one study, oxygen supply also reversed the progression of PH in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). One recent randomized-controlled trial indicates that O2 given during cardiopulmonary exercise significantly improves maximal work rate and endurance. Furthermore, nocturnal oxygen supply for one week significantly improved 6-minute walking distance in patients with PH, sleep-associated breathing difficulties, exercise performance during the day as well as cardiac repolarisation. Patients with Eisenmenger's syndrome gain little benefit from nocturnal O2 therapy.

Whether these positive effects of O2 supplementation during exercise would translate into long-term improvements of exercise capacity, quality of life, hemodynamics and disease progression is not known to date. Up to now, there are no randomised studies suggesting that long-term O2 therapy is indicated or when it should be initiated.

Condition Oxygen Deficiency, Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension, CTEPH
Treatment Oxygen
Clinical Study IdentifierNCT04207593
SponsorHeidelberg University
Last Modified on29 March 2023

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