Supplemental oxygen enhances exercise endurance and reduces breathing difficulties in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), an Australian study shows.

The study, “Greater endurance capacity and improved dyspnoea with acute oxygen supplementation in idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis patients without resting hypoxaemia,” was published in the journal Respirology.

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.

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