Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Use of home oxygen for children in England and Wales
  1. R A Primhak1,
  2. B Hicks2,
  3. N J Shaw3,
  4. G C Donaldson4,
  5. I M Balfour-Lynn2
  1. 1Department of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Sheffield Children's Hospital, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2Department of Paediatric Respiratory Medicine, Royal Brompton Hospital, London, UK
  3. 3Neonatal Unit, Liverpool Women's Hospital, Liverpool, UK
  4. 4Academic Unit of Respiratory Medicine, UCL Medical School, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ian M Balfour-Lynn, Royal Brompton Hospital, Sydney St, London SW3 6NP, UK; i.balfourlynn{at}


Background With the introduction of a standardised ordering system in February 2006, the opportunity arose to collect data on children requiring home oxygen in England and Wales. The authors' aim was to determine the incidence and patterns of home oxygen prescribing.

Methods A paediatric home oxygen clinical network and the Children's Home Oxygen Record Database were established. During a 3-year period (February 2006 to January 2009), prescribers were requested to submit copies of the Home Oxygen Order Forms. In addition, anonymised point prevalence data on all patients currently receiving home oxygen in June 2007 were obtained from the four provider companies.

Results Children's Home Oxygen Record Database—Forms were analysed for 888 children <16 years (58% boys) with a median age of 4.1 months; 656 (74%) were <1 year. 541 (68%) had a diagnosis of chronic neonatal lung disease; 53 (7%), neurodisability; and 49 (6%), cardiac disease. Order forms were often incomplete, and prescribing practice was variable.

Provider's cross-sectional survey—There were 3338 children <16 years, representing 4% of all patients on home oxygen. Median age was 3.1 years with a peak at 6 months. The prevalence for paediatric home oxygen use in England and Wales was 0.33 per 1000, with a peak of 1.08 per 1000 for those <1 year. Marked regional variation was noted.

Conclusions This is the first national dataset available for children prescribed home oxygen in England and Wales. The study emphasises the need for a coordinated approach to home oxygen prescribing and justifies the recent publication of evidence-based guidelines.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Funding British Lung Foundation and Carburos Metálicos.

  • Competing interests The CHORD database was part sponsored by the British Lung Foundation, and Carburos Metálicos (of Air Products) provided funding that allowed BH to work 1 d/wk on the database, in collaboration with IBL at the Royal Brompton Hospital.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of COREC (reference nos. 05/Q1407/190 and 06/Q0501/21).

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.