Long-term oxygen therapy: conference summary.
With Jan's presentation, the conference concluded. In looking back on it, I think it is obvious that the group heard a very comprehensive, state-of-the-art review of this very important topic. Obviously, LTOT has enormous clinical and financial impact for millions of patients around the world. Indeed, LTOT is one of the few therapies available that has clearly been shown in randomized controlled trials to impact mortality. There are many questions that remain, however. To me, the most important of these questions involve the diagnosis and management of patients who do not have resting hypoxemia but who do have NOD and/or XOD. How aggressively should we "screen" for these conditions? If we find them, do we treat continuously or just during the hypoxemic episodes? What is the role of supplemental oxygen during rehabilitative exercises (including usage in patients who don't become hypoxemic)? The answers to these questions will clearly have substantial clinical and financial impact. Other memorable aspects of this conference included the tireless efforts of Ray Masferrer to pull this conference off, the special camaraderie of the participants that made the discussions so productive, and the lovely location that gave the conference an atmosphere of high quality. I'd like to recognize and thank two important groups. First, the American Association for Respiratory Care did a superb job of organizing the conference and providing the journal Respiratory Care as a forum to publish the proceedings. Second, our 3 industry sponsors not only provided critical funding support but also gave the group important perspectives during many of the discussions. These kinds of industry-profession collaborations benefit everyone. Finally, I'd like to extend my congratulations to all the speakers for jobs well done and to thank them for making my job as summarizer an enjoyable one.
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