10 doctors weighed in:
My mother has sleep apnea and falls during the day. Her oxygenation drops at night to 60%. Why would they avoid adding oxygen to her cpap & daytime?
10 doctors weighed in

Dr. R Sangal
Internal Medicine - Sleep Medicine
6 doctors agree
In brief: Depends on reason
Does her oxygen drop to 60% when she stops breathing, or does it drop to 60% and stay there even when she is breathing normally during sleep? If the desaturation is because of sleep apnea, adding oxygen would not help as air is not going to the lungs.
Opening the airway with CPAP allows normal breathing and oxygen values. If it is sustained desaturation, oxygen is usually added.

In brief: Depends on reason
Does her oxygen drop to 60% when she stops breathing, or does it drop to 60% and stay there even when she is breathing normally during sleep? If the desaturation is because of sleep apnea, adding oxygen would not help as air is not going to the lungs.
Opening the airway with CPAP allows normal breathing and oxygen values. If it is sustained desaturation, oxygen is usually added.
Dr. R Sangal
Dr. R Sangal
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1 comment
Dr. Michelle Zetoony
Oxygen is a drug. Too much is not good and can cause problems as well. Some people even when apnea is treated hypoventilate and do need oxygen. Also some forms of sleep apnea respond more to oxygen than CPAP (i.e. central sleep apnea). Doctor may check her on CPAP and see if oxygen has improved. If it remains low, sometimes oxygen is added.
Saurabh Bajpai
Emergency Medicine
2 doctors agree
In brief: Constant high CO2
One of the reasons that a physician might avoid giving her o2 is that it may stop her breathing.
Our main way to control breathing is through sensing of co2. If a person has had a constantly high level of co2 over times due to any respiratory disease, then their body sees that level as normal. Sudden drop in that co2 level can lead to not breathing at all. Please consult your pcp for more info.

In brief: Constant high CO2
One of the reasons that a physician might avoid giving her o2 is that it may stop her breathing.
Our main way to control breathing is through sensing of co2. If a person has had a constantly high level of co2 over times due to any respiratory disease, then their body sees that level as normal. Sudden drop in that co2 level can lead to not breathing at all. Please consult your pcp for more info.
Saurabh Bajpai
Saurabh Bajpai
Answer assisted by Saurabh Bajpai, Medical Student
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Dr. Paul Doghramji
Family Medicine
In brief: Possible COPD
Patients that have COPD may do worse with oxygen at too high a dose.

In brief: Possible COPD
Patients that have COPD may do worse with oxygen at too high a dose.
Dr. Paul Doghramji
Dr. Paul Doghramji
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Dr. Carlo Hatem
Internal Medicine - Pulmonary Critical Care
In brief: Does she need it?
If her oxygen level on CPAP is normal she does not need it at night.
If her daytime oxygen level is normal, she does not need it during the day. Ask her doctor to check the oxygen level during exercise or after a 6 minute walk test. She might actually need the oxygen. An overnight oxygen saturation monitor might be helpful.

In brief: Does she need it?
If her oxygen level on CPAP is normal she does not need it at night.
If her daytime oxygen level is normal, she does not need it during the day. Ask her doctor to check the oxygen level during exercise or after a 6 minute walk test. She might actually need the oxygen. An overnight oxygen saturation monitor might be helpful.
Dr. Carlo Hatem
Dr. Carlo Hatem
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1 comment
Dr. Carlo Hatem
Oximeters normally do not keep a record, those that do are very expensive. The overnight saturation monitor is usually performed free of charge by the company that provides her CPAP. You might want to talk to them.
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