Long-term oxygen therapy for chronic respiratory insufficiency: The situation in Korea after the health insurance coverage: A multi-center Korean survey

Jae Park Myung, Jee Hong Yoo, Woong Choi Cheon, Kyoon Kim Young, Hyoung Kyu Yoon, Ho Kang Kyung, Yong Lee Sung, Sook Choi Hye, Ho Lee Kwan, Hwa Lee Jin, Sung Chui Lim, Yu Il Kim, Ho Shin Dong, Tae Hyung Kim, Ki Suck Jung, Bum Park Yong

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Background: From November 2006, The national health insurance system in the Republic of Korea began to cover prescribed long-term oxygen therapy (LTOT) in patients with chronic respiratory insufficiency. This study examined the current status of LTOT after national health insurance coverage. Methods: Between November 1, 2006 and June 30, 2008, the medical records of patients who were prescribed LTOT by chest physicians were reviewed. The data was collected from 13 university hospitals. Results: 197 patients (131 male and 66 female) were prescribed LTOT. The mean age was 64.3±13.0 years. The most common underlying disease was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (n=103, 52.3%). Chest physicians prescribed LTOT using arterial blood gas analysis or a pulse oxymeter (74.6%), symptoms (14%), or a pulmonary function test (11.2%). The mean oxygen flow rate was 1.56±0.68 L/min at rest, 2.08±0.91 L/min during exercise or 1.51±0.75 L/min during sleep. Most patients (98.3%) used oxygen concentrators. Only 19% of patients used ambulatory oxygen supplies. The oxygen saturation before and after LTOT was 83.18±10.48% and 91.64±7.1%, respectively. After LTOT, dyspnea improved in 81.2% of patients. The mean duration of LTOT was 16.85±6.71 hours/day. The rental cost for the oxygen concentrator and related electricity charges were 48,414±15,618 won/month and 40,352±36,815 won/month, respectively. Approximately 75% of patients had a regular visit by the company. 5.8% of patients had personal pulse oxymetry. 54.9% of patients had their oxygen saturation checked on each visit hospital. 8% of patients were current smokers. The most common complaint with LTOT was the limitation of daily activity (53%). The most common complaint with oxygen concentrators was noise (41%). Conclusion: The patients showed good compliance with LTOT. However, only a few patients used an ambulatory oxygen device or had their oxygen saturation measured. Copyright

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-94
Number of pages7
JournalTuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • COPD
  • Chronic respiratory insufficiency
  • Long-term home oxygen therapy
  • Reimbursement


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