Use of supplemental oxygen during exercise testing and training for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: a survey of Australian pulmonary rehabilitation programs

Regina W.M. Leung, Jennifer A. Alison, Sue C. Jenkins, Anne E. Holland, Kylie Hill, Norman R. Morris, Lissa M. Spencer, Catherine J. Hill, Annemarie L. Lee, Helen E. Seale, Nola M. Cecins, Christine F. McDonald, Zoe J. McKeough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Objectives: The aims of this study were to determine, in Australian pulmonary rehabilitation programs for people with COPD: (1) whether oxygen saturation (SpO2) was monitored during exercise testing; (2) whether supplemental oxygen was available during exercise testing and/or training; (3) whether oxygen was prescribed during exercise training; and the reason for providing oxygen; (4) whether a protocol was available for supplemental oxygen prescription during exercise training. Methods: This was a cross-sectional multi-center study using a purposed-designed survey. De-identified survey data were analyzed and the absolute number and percentage of responses were recorded for each question. Results: The survey was sent to 261 pulmonary rehabilitation programs and 142 surveys (54%) were available for analysis. Oxygen saturation was monitored during exercise testing in 92% of programs. Supplemental oxygen was available in the majority of programs during exercise testing (82%) and training (84%). The rationale cited by 87 programs (73%) for prescribing oxygen during exercise training was maintaining SpO2 above a threshold ranging from SpO2 80–88%. Forty-five (32%) programs had a protocol for oxygen prescription during exercise training. Conclusion: While monitoring of SpO2 during exercise testing and using supplemental oxygen during testing and training is common in Australian pulmonary rehabilitation programs, few programs had a protocol in place for the prescription of supplemental oxygen for people with COPD who were not on long-term oxygen therapy. This may be due to lack of strong evidence to support the use of supplemental oxygen during exercise training.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalBrazilian Journal of Physical Therapy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 15 May 2020


  • COPD
  • Exercise testing
  • Exercise training
  • Oxygen
  • Rehabilitation

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