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Short burst oxygen therapy in COPD: a practice nurse's guide

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Short burst oxygen therapy is typically used for t Short burst oxygen therapy is typically used for the relief of breathlessness. Recent guidance recommends that it is not used.

In a survey of practice nurses by O’Donnell et al1 80% of respondents said their clinical activities included chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) monitoring. One of the many elements of COPD monitoring is screening patients for formal oxygen assessment. It is estimated by the Department of Health (DH) that approximately 85,000 people are on home oxygen in England costing in the region of £110 million per year.2 This article will explore the use of short burst oxygen therapy (SBOT) in the management of breathlessness for COPD.

The British Thoracic Society (BTS)3 describes SBOT as a therapy typically given for the relief of breathlessness that is not relieved by any other treatment. Traditionally patients are advised to use the oxygen for 10–20 minutes before and/or after activities that precipitate breathlessness.

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