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Transtracheal oxygen therapy

INTRODUCTION

Transtracheal oxygen (TTO) therapy refers to the delivery of long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) through a transtracheal catheter (picture 1). It is an alternative to conventional LTOT, which is delivered through a nasal cannula.

The benefits of TTO therapy, patient selection, complications, and reimbursement are discussed in this topic review. Other issues related to LTOT are discussed separately. (See "Long-term supplemental oxygen therapy" and "Traveling with oxygen aboard commercial air carriers" and "Oxygen conserving devices" and "Use of oxygen in patients with hypercapnia".)

BENEFITS

TTO therapy offers several potential benefits [1]. Most studies that have examined the efficacy of TTO have used the subject as his or her own control. In the short-term physiologic studies, patients with an existing transtracheocutaneous fistula usually received interventions related to tracheal gas delivery in a random order, and then were compared to controls with no tracheal flow [2,3]. In the long-term clinical studies, data collected after initiation of TTO therapy were compared to data collected while the patient was receiving LTOT by nasal cannula [4-8]. One trial randomized 43 patients to receive TTO or LTOT via nasal cannula for the duration of the trial [9].

TTO was found to have the following effects when compared to LTOT delivered via nasal cannula (table 1):

  • Reduces the oxygen flow that is required to achieve the same arterial oxyhemoglobin saturation, both at rest (55 percent reduction) and during exercise (30 percent reduction) [4]
  • Improved exercise capacity was observed in two studies; however a third study found no increase in exercise capacity with TTO compared to nasal cannula, when controlled for oxygen saturation [3,5,9]
  • Improves the room air alveolar to arterial oxygen tension gradient (ie, A-a gradient) [6,9]
  • Reduces erythrocytosis and improves cor pulmonale [4,7,9]
  • Reduces or maintains arterial carbon dioxide tension (PaCO2) [2]
  • Corrects hypoxemia that was refractory to LTOT delivered by nasal cannula [7]
  • Improves activity and mobility [9]
  • Improves physical, social, and psychological function [9]
  • Improves compliance (daily duration of oxygen use) [8]
  • Reduces days of hospitalization [5]

                  

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Literature review current through: Jun 2014. | This topic last updated: Aug 14, 2013.
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References
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