Based on the very limited evidence available, an expert panel convened by the.
The guideline authors not only addressed specific indications for chronic lung and pulmonary vascular diseases, but also defined hypoxemia in children – noting that Medicare and Medicaid coverage determinations for home oxygen therapy in children are based on decades-old studies that lacked pediatric patients – and offer expert advice on how to wean and discontinue oxygen, when warranted.
The disease-specific recommendations on whether or not to prescribe home oxygen therapy are characterized either as strong, meaning that it’s the right course of action for at least 95% of patients; or conditional, meaning it might not be right for a “sizable minority” of patients, authors explained in the guideline.
Home oxygen therapy gets a strong recommendation, for example, in patients with cystic fibrosis complicated by severe chronic hypoxemia, but gets a conditional recommendation for sickle cell disease with severe chronic hypoxemia, according to the guideline, published in the.
Regardless of strong or conditional, the recommendations were largely based on “very low-quality evidence,” according to ad hoc subcommittee of thecochaired by , of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, and of Children’s Hospital Colorado, Denver.
“Despite widespread use of home oxygen therapy for various lung and pulmonary vascular diseases, there is a striking paucity of data regarding its implementation, efficacy, monitoring, and discontinuation,” Dr. Hayes, Dr. Deterding, and 20 additional committee members wrote in their report.
Accordingly, the panel sought to add expert opinion and experience to the limited evidence, in the hope that it would aid clinicians in the management of complex pediatric patients, they said.
One new tool they provide, toward that end, is a definition of hypoxemia in children based on oxygen saturation as quantified by pulse oximetry (SpO2).
Based on a review of 31 selected studies measuring oxygenation in healthy children, the expert panel defined hypoxemia (at or near sea level) as SpO2 of 90% or lower for 5% of the recording time in children under 1 year old, and an SpO2 of 93% or lower in older children; or alternately, as three independent measurements of SpO2 less than or equal to 90% in the younger children and 93% in the older children.
By contrast, an SpO2 of less than 88% is one of the indications for funding home oxygen therapy as determined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for both pediatric and adult patients, according to the committee.
The CMS indications derived from “seminal studies” showing that continuous oxygen therapy reduced mortality in adults with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, they said in the guideline document.
“Despite the lack of pediatric patients in these historic studies performed over 35 years ago, the CMS coverage determination for [home oxygen therapy] is the same for pediatric patients of all ages compared with adult patients,” they wrote in the report.
The committee unanimously agreed that 2 weeks of low SpO2 was “sufficient evidence” to indicate chronic hypoxemia, their report says.
Dr. Hayes reported no relationships with relevant commercial interests, while Dr. Deterding provided disclosures related to Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis, and Elsevier Publishing, among others. Fellow committee members provided disclosures related to Shire Pharmaceuticals, United Therapeutics, and others as listed in the clinical practice guideline document.
SOURCE: Hayes D Jr. et al. J Respir Crit Care Med. 2019 Feb 1;199(3):e5-e23. doi: