Sundh J, Palm A, Wahlberg J, Runold M, Ekström M
PLoS One 17 (4) e0266367 [2022-04-08; online 2022-04-08]
Covid-19 can cause chronic hypoxic respiratory failure, but the impact on the need for long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) is unknown. The aim was to investigate change in incidence and characteristics of patients starting LTOT in Sweden 2020 after the outbreak of the pandemic. Population-based observational study using data from the National Registry for Respiratory Failure (Swedevox) and from a survey to all centres prescribing LTOT in Sweden. Swedevox data provided information on incidence of LTOT and characteristics of patients starting LTOT during 2015-2020. Between March-Dec 2020, 131 patients started LTOT due to covid-19, corresponding to 20.5% of incident LTOT in Sweden. Compared with 2015-19, the total number of patients starting LTOT did not increase. No significant differences in patient characteristics or underlying causes of hypoxemia were found between patients starting LTOT during 2020 compared 2015-2019. The majority of the LTOT centres estimated that, since the start of the pandemic, the incidence of LTOT was unchanged and the time devoted for LTOT work was the same or slightly less. Covid-19 caused one fifth of all LTOT starts during the pandemic in 2020. The LTOT incidence overall did not increase possibly due to reduction in other infections.