A Cochrane review examined the evidence from randomised controlled trials to establish whether routine use of inhaled oxygen in acute myocardial infarction (AMI) improves patient-centred outcomes, the primary outcomes being death, pain and complications.
Three trials involving 387 patients were included and 14 deaths occurred. The pooled relative risk (RR) of death was 2.88 (95% CI 0.88 to 9.39) in an intention-to-treat analysis and 3.03 (95% CI 0.93 to 9.83) in patients with confirmed AMI. While suggestive of harm, the small number of deaths recorded meant that this could be a chance occurrence. Pain was measured by analgesic use. The pooled RR for the use of analgesics was 0.97 (95% CI 0.78 to 1.20).
There is therefore no conclusive evidence from randomised controlled trials to support the routine use of inhaled oxygen in patients with acute AMI. A definitive randomised controlled trial is required.
Oxygen therapy for acute myocardial infarction