Dr. Sanderson shares if high oxygen concentrations are harmful to people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
If the individual has already been diagnosed with COPD it’s important to get on a good medical program to avoid respiratory irritants, to get their immunizations in a timely fashion. Sometimes the physicians will suggest that they keep an antibiotic on hand because we all develop episodic respiratory infections and it’s sometimes desirable for them to begin using an antibiotic with the first sign of worsening infection in the chest.
That’s an interesting question. Oxygen is not harmful to any of us. We are all breathing oxygen at the concentration of about 21percent. Some people with COPD need a little bit higher concentration and with supplemental oxygen, either with a portable device or something at the bedside, we can raise the inspired oxygen their concentration to 25 or maybe 30 percent.
In order to get a harmful concentration of oxygen you really have to breathe more than 50 percent oxygen concentration for a day, for 24 or 48 hours or very high, or higher levels above that. It’s very difficult to do that in an outpatient or ambulatory setting. Patients who are in a hospital situation have to be intubated with a tube in their windpipe to assist their breathing, can with the aid of ventilatory assist device, get a higher concentration of oxygen but that’s not likely to happen to anybody who is not in a intensive care unit.
About Dr. Sanderson, M.D.:
Dr. David R. Sanderson, M.D., practices at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona, specializing in pulmonary care. Dr. Sanderson attended the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. He completed his residency and fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Visit Dr. Sanderson at Mayo Clinic