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This is more of an answer, too much oxygen can be harmful to COPD patients.

By Anonymous December 13, 2011 - 2:55pm
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The drive to breathe is normally your bodys detection of high Carbon dioxide levels. With COPD, the lungs retain more CO2 than normal and cancels the normal way of breathing. With COPD patients the hypoxic drive is activated and becomes the primary way of breathing. It is triggered when the body detects low concentrations of oxygen. Therefore, if a COPD patient gets too much oxygen, the hypoxic drive will shut off and the patient will lose the sense to take a breath. This is in reply to Dr. Sanderson from Mayo Clinic.

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EmpowHER Guest

My dad had ILD and COPD. He had oxygen at home for years and then had some concentated oxygen on the ambulance and at the hospital and died two days later there. What part of his illness caused his death. Was it the oxygen??? Can some one help me answer this?

April 5, 2017 - 10:24pm
Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anonymous,

I am sorry to hear about the loss of your father.

None of us can answer your questions. Consider speaking with his attending physician who may be able to give you some insight.


April 6, 2017 - 9:57am
EmpowHER Guest

Will to much oxygen cause mood changes or signs of dementia.

March 26, 2015 - 3:46am
Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anonymous,

Giving a COPD patient too much oxygen and not monitoring blood gas results can lead to very serious consequences, such as abnormally high carbon dioxide levels in the blood and coma.


March 26, 2015 - 9:11am
EmpowHER Guest

I have COPD and am on 4 lpm and after reading this I'm scared

February 7, 2015 - 3:32pm
EmpowHER Guest

This process is called The Hypoxic Drive Theory.
It has not been proved, and is no longer believed by all medical professionals.

Unfortunately, people are afraid of their oxygen, even though it is not possible to "overdose" on the amounts of oxygen that are available with home use or portable oxygen.
The problem with withholding oxygen, in fear of killing the patient's drive to breathe, is that the patient can suffer more damage, or die, from insufficient oxygen.

Keep in mind that modern hospital equipment has come a long way since the old days when this theory was developed. Ventilation or non-invasive ventilation such as the BiPaP will prevent the build-up of carbon dioxide.

I am not a professional. I suggest reading online about both points of view about The Hypoxic Drive Theory.
It's really quite interesting, and I know respiratory therapists who would rather come to blows than agree!
Barb Knowles

March 31, 2012 - 8:47am

I am an RN and have COPD, been through pulmonary rehab. and did not know this information. I am on oxygen, and 2LPM so feel safe at that level, but I want to thank you for this information. It is critical we all know this. Again, thank you.

December 14, 2011 - 6:51pm

Thank you for your comment. You are correct. In the pre-hospital setting, such as receiving oxygen at home, low flow oxygen levels are safe. But when levels are increased and too much oxygen is delivered for a long period of time, the person with COPD will stop breathing.








December 13, 2011 - 6:13pm
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