What is home oxygen therapy?
Oxygen therapy is a form of treatment used when a person’s blood oxygen levels are persistently low. On this page, we explain the different types of home oxygen therapy that are available and why it is used. You can read more about how oxygen therapy works in our information.
Oxygen is a gas that is vital to all the cells in your body. Our bodies need oxygen for all their active processes like digesting food, contracting muscles, or even just thinking.
If you’re living with a lung condition, you may be offered home oxygen therapy if your blood oxygen levels are persistently low all the time. This involves breathing in air that has a higher level of oxygen through a mask or a tube.
There are several different kinds of home oxygen therapy:
- Long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) - used to stabilise oxygen levels for 15 hours or more
- Ambulatory oxygen therapy (AOT) - used to help you be more active. It can also be called portable oxygen
- Palliative oxygen therapy (POT) - used to manage very low oxygen levels at the end of life.
Oxygen therapy is a treatment for persistent low blood oxygen levels, not breathlessness.
“Get used to using it. It will make the difference between being stuck indoors or getting out and enjoying life. You may be able to do a few more jobs around the house or garden as well.”
Linda, 64, who has bronchiectasis, emphysema and IPF, and uses ambulatory oxygen and oxygen at night.
Will I benefit from home oxygen therapy?
Home oxygen therapy helps improve persistently low blood oxygen levels which place a strain on your heart. Find out how home oxygen therapy helps and who might benefit from it.
When is a referral made and how is home oxygen therapy assessed?
If you’ve been diagnosed with a lung condition, have the right medication, but still feel very out of breath - it may be time for your health care professional to investigate if your blood oxygen levels are low. Find out how someone is referred for home oxygen therapy and how they are assessed.