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Supplemental Oxygen Improves Exercise Endurance in IPF Patients, Study Finds

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Oxygen is commonly prescribed for patients with IPF. But while this strategy was shown to halt exercise-induced oxidative stress — meaning an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species and the body’s ability to eliminate them or to repair the resulting damage — in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), its benefits in IPF remained unproven.

Now, researchers conducted a small study ( ACTRN12611001154998 ) to investigate the effects of supplemental oxygen on oxidative stress, skeletal muscle metabolism, and the physiological response to exercise in IPF patients.

Patients with a confirmed diagnosis of IPF were recruited at the Department of Respiratory and Sleep Medicine at Austin Health  in Australia. A total of 11 patients received either oxygen (administered at a fraction of inspired oxygen of 0.50) or compressed air for one hour at rest. Then patients underwent a cycle endurance test while inhaling the same gas — oxygen or air.