Improved Oxygen Systems Effective in Childhood Pneumonia

Article

In developing countries, improved oxygen systems with pulse oximetry and oxygen concentrators can significantly reduce the death rate for children with pneumonia and are cost-effective compared to other public health interventions, according to a report published online Aug. 18 in The Lancet.

MONDAY, Aug. 18 (HealthDay News) -- In developing countries, improved oxygen systems with pulse oximetry and oxygen concentrators can significantly reduce the death rate for children with pneumonia and are cost-effective compared to other public health interventions, according to a report published online Aug. 18 in The Lancet.

Trevor Duke, M.D., of the Centre for International Child Health at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues compared outcomes in 11,000 children with pneumonia who were treated at five rural hospitals in Papua New Guinea before (2001-2004) and after (2005-2007) improved oxygen systems were installed.

The researchers found that the case-fatality rate decreased from 4.97 percent to 3.22 percent, representing a 35 percent decline in the risk of death. They also found that the costs associated with improved oxygen systems were (in U.S. dollars) $51 per patient treated, $1,673 per life saved and $50 per disability-adjusted life-year averted.

"The most probable explanation for this reduction is the improved system and better quality of care that accompanies such a system," the authors conclude. "With the recognition that a comprehensive and multifaceted approach is needed to reduce the worldwide burden of child mortality from pneumonia, we hope that more countries will consider developing similar programs."

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