Oxygen-induced hypercapnia in COPD: myths and facts

Wilson F. Abdo*, Leo M.A. Heunks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Letter to the editorAcademic


During our medical training, we learned that oxygen administration in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) induces hypercapnia through the 'hypoxic drive' mechanism and can be dangerous. This mindset frequently results in the reluctance of clinicians to administer oxygen to hypoxemic patients with COPD. However, this fear is not based on evidence in the literature. Here, we will review the impact and pathophysiology of oxygen-induced hypercapnia in patients with acute exacerbation of COPD and recommend a titrated oxygen management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number323
JournalCritical Care
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2012

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