Has anyone else been put on 24/7 oxygen with no current lung problems?

Was in hospital over Christmas and not allowed home until 2 concentrators had been installed in the house. The reason was that I had v low arterial blood gas levels and mild sleep apnoea. I was told I would need the oxygen for "life". (Am 67) Have seen the consultant twice more since then and despite the oxygen I still have a v low arterial level &, apparently, I retain carbon dioxide. They test the arterial blood each time I go & make their decision based on that. Each time I have asked the consultant whether I have COPD & he always says "probably". This week he added "but we still don't know why you are so hypoxic". When I said that I don't have any symptoms he responded by saying that COPD can be "asymptomatic". I don't have a further appointment for 6 months when he said they would do some more spirometry. I have no idea what my FEV is - I've realized by coming on the forum how important that is in diagnosing COPD. I feel a lot better in myself since I've been on the oxygen - am no longer constantly exhausted. To be honest, I'm a bit baffled by it all.

4 Replies

  • Hi Graciegirl. Has your consultant done a CT scan ? That's one of the best ways of seeing if you have COPD or not. It is a bit baffling though what you have described !

  • Hi Graciegirl, I've never heard of asymptomatic COPD. It does seem odd that your oxygen saturation is apparently so low and yet you don't get breathless. I don't understand why your consultant answers your question re copd with "probably". Puff is right that a CT scan will show clearly what damage may be present in your lungs, but you could ask your GP for a copy of your spirometry results. I always ask for a copy of mine when i see my consultant. Then i have time to think about them, google for explanations of things i don't understand.

    From what you say, the oxygen has improved your exhaustion. Fatigue is a definitely a very frequent symptom of copd. But maybe your exhaustion comes mainly from the sleep apnoea - not being a medic i have no idea!

    If you need help thinking of what questions to ask your GP, and any more explanations, you could call the BLF helpline by clicking on red balloon at top right of page for contact details.

  • Thank you for your responses OT trees & Puffthemagicdragon. I have had a CT scan & it showed mild centrilobular emphysema and scarring from pneumonia. I also have mild sleep apnoea. I do get breathless on exertion & my temperature goes up to between 37.5 & 38.++. For example, I went out last night for a meal & my specs kept misting up. I checked my temp when we got home & it was 38.5.

  • Oops I submitted my reply too soon. According to my neurologist that is an autonomic nervous system problem in the thalamus & can't be treated other than by taking paracetamol. I don't like doing this & it doesn't make anydifference. Both the respiratory consultant & the consultant neurologist say they are baffled by it, FCC

    too. I think the oxygen is a pragmatic response to protecting my brain & major organs by them because the arterial blood gas is so low. I find the forum fascinating & It has taught me so much. Thank you everyone.

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