Should oxygen be used for patients with chronic heart failure?

May 21, 2012, University of Hull

Researchers at the University of Hull, in the UK, have just launched a major new trial investigating the effects of home oxygen therapy in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF).

Since home oxygen therapy (HOT) can be inconvenient for patients is and expensive, a robust trial is required to offer some clear guidance about whether HOT should be offered routinely to patients with chronic .

Around 669,000 people in the UK aged over 45 have the condition, in which the heart is too weak to pump blood efficiently around the body. Chronic heart failure is frequently characterised by , which can be worse when the patient lies down to sleep.

Although home oxygen therapy is frequently prescribed to treat the symptoms, there is no conclusive evidence as to its efficacy. Indeed, although the patient may be short of breath, this is not always linked to low .

Professor Andrew Clark, of the University of Hull, who leading the study, explains: "There is a strong belief that oxygen must be vital for patients suffering from breathlessness: however we can't be certain that home oxygen therapy is effective, particularly since we know many CHF patients who are well treated with medication have normal levels of arterial oxygen in their blood while they are at rest and during exercise."

The research was commissioned by the National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment (NIHR HTA), which funds research into the effectiveness, costs and broader impacts of healthcare treatments.

Around 165 patients will be recruited to the and given either overnight HOT, or HOT for 17 hours per day, alongside their regular medical therapies. A third group will continue to receive their normal with no home oxygen. The trial will last for two years, during which time the research team will measure a range of factors, including the patient's overall quality of life, exercise ability and breathlessness, as well as the severity of CHF.

"The results of the research will offer clinicians useful guidance on whether home is beneficial to patients with ," says Professor Clark. "This will enable them to better target treatments for the benefit of patients and to ensure resources are used cost-effectively."

The study will be based initially at Hull, but involving other research institutions around the UK as the study progresses.

Explore further: Targeting leg fatigue in heart failure

Related Stories

Targeting leg fatigue in heart failure

October 31, 2011
Doctors should not only treat the heart muscle in chronic heart failure patients, but also their leg muscles through exercise, say researchers in a study published today in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Not faster, but longer -- new drug changes beat in treating heart failure

August 19, 2011
A new drug which offers a radically different approach to treating certain types of heart failure has been shown to improve cardiac function in heart failure patients in its first clinical trials.

Recommended for you

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

Place of residence linked to heart failure risk

January 9, 2018
Location. Location. Location.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.