N Engl J Med. 2020 Sep 17;383(12):1129-1138. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2013219.
BACKGROUND: Long-term oxygen therapy improves survival in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and chronic severe daytime hypoxemia. However, the efficacy of oxygen therapy for the management of isolated nocturnal hypoxemia is uncertain.
METHODS: We designed this double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial to determine, in patients with COPD who have nocturnal arterial oxygen desaturation without qualifying for long-term oxygen therapy, whether nocturnal oxygen provided for a period of 3 to 4 years would decrease mortality or the worsening of disease such that patients meet current specifications for long-term oxygen therapy. Patients with an oxygen saturation of less than 90% for at least 30% of the recording time on nocturnal oximetry were assigned, in a 1:1 ratio, to receive either nocturnal oxygen or ambient air from a sham concentrator (placebo). The primary outcome was a composite of death from any cause or a requirement for long-term oxygen therapy as defined by the Nocturnal Oxygen Therapy Trial (NOTT) criteria in the intention-to-treat population.
RESULTS: Recruitment was stopped prematurely because of recruitment and retention difficulties after 243 patients, of a projected 600, had undergone randomization at 28 centers. At 3 years of follow-up, 39.0% of the patients assigned to nocturnal oxygen (48 of 123) and 42.0% of those assigned to placebo (50 of 119) met the NOTT-defined criteria for long-term oxygen therapy or had died (difference, -3.0 percentage points; 95% confidence interval, -15.1 to 9.1).
CONCLUSIONS: Our underpowered trial provides no indication that nocturnal oxygen has a positive or negative effect on survival or progression to long-term oxygen therapy in patients with COPD. (Funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research; INOX ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01044628.).