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July 5, 1971

Renal Function in Respiratory Failure

JAMA. 1971;217(1):82. doi:10.1001/jama.1971.03190010064030

To the Editor.—  The EDITORIAL on renal function in respiratory failure (216:131, 1971) prompts us to comment on our experience in prolonged hypercapnia in patients receiving ambulatory oxygen for control of hypoxemia. Over 200 patients have been managed by us with ambulatory oxygen therapy for periods ranging up to six years.1-3 We have found the correction of hypoxemia extremely valuable in reducing pulmonary hypertension and correcting congestive heart failure for periods up to five years, and have reported on apparent reduction in mortality from cor pulmonale associated with chronic airway obstruction in patients given long-term oxygen therapy.3We have also been interested in chronic compensated carbon dioxide retention which occurs as obstructive airway disease progresses. We have found that chronic carbon dioxide tension (Pco2) levels in excess of 65 mm Hg (mean 90 mm Hg) were extremely well tolerated clinically by ten patients for periods averaging