Oxygen therapy

Lady receiving oxygen therapy

Not everyone with breathlessness will benefit from oxygen therapy. Oxygen therapy will only help you if you have low levels of oxygen in your blood.

If your doctor thinks that you will benefit from oxygen therapy, he or she will send you for an oxygen assessment. After your assessment, if the specialist thinks that you will benefit from oxygen therapy, you will be prescribed oxygen for use at home.

To get the benefits of oxygen therapy, you will need to use your oxygen for at least 15 hours a day. This is known as long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT). LTOT is normally provided at home using an oxygen concentrator, a machine which takes air from the room and separates the oxygen from the other gases in the air, so that you can breathe in pure oxygen. Oxygen is breathed through a nasal cannula (a small plastic tube that fits inside your nostrils) or a face mask, whichever suits you best.

If you want to use oxygen away from home, you can use portable cylinders of oxygen with a nasal cannula or mask. This is called ambulatory oxygen therapy.