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Purpose: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide and is associated with a growing and substantial socioeconomic burden. Long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT), recommended by current treatment guidelines for COPD patients with severe chronic hypoxemia, has shown to reduce mortality in this population. The aim of our study was to assess the standardized mortality ratios of incident and prevalent LTOT users and to identify predictors of mortality. Patients and methods: We conducted a 2-year follow-up population-based cohort study comprising all COPD patients receiving LTOT in the canton of Bern, Switzerland. Comparing age- and sex-adjusted standardized mortality ratios, we examined associations between all-cause mortality and patient characteristics at baseline. To avoid immortal time bias, data for incident (receiving LTOT <6 months) and prevalent users were analyzed separately. Results: At baseline, 475 patients (20% incident users, n=93) were receiving LTOT because of COPD (48/100,000 inhabitants). Mortality of incident and prevalent LTOT users was 41% versus 27%, respectively, p<0.007, and standardized mortality ratios were 8.02 (95% CI: 5.64-11.41) versus 5.90 (95% CI: 4.79-7.25), respectively. Type 2 respiratory failure was associated with higher standardized mortality ratios among incident LTOT users (60.57, 95% CI: 11.82-310.45, p=0.038). Conclusion: Two-year mortality rate of COPD patients on incident LTOT was somewhat lower in our study than in older cohorts but remained high compared to the general population, especially in younger patients receiving LTOT <6 months. Type 2 respiratory failure was associated with mortality.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Chron Obstruct Pulmon Dis

Publication Date





979 - 988


COPD, long-term oxygen therapy, mortality, type 2 respiratory failure, Aged, Aged, 80 and over, Female, Humans, Incidence, Lung, Male, Middle Aged, Oxygen Inhalation Therapy, Prevalence, Prospective Studies, Protective Factors, Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive, Respiratory Insufficiency, Risk Factors, Severity of Illness Index, Switzerland, Time Factors, Treatment Outcome