Transtracheal Oxygen Survey

October 2008

This short survey was sent to all of the EFFORTS mailing list in August of 2008, looking for comments and information about the use of TransTracheal oxygen delivery (TTO).  EFFORTS currently has approximately 2500 active members primarily COPD patients (but not all are oxygen users).  It’s unknown whether all the responses came from this pool, or if others participated because the questionnaire was also forwarded.

There were a total of 15 responses from those who use or have used TTO.  One of the 15 has discontinued use due to a bout of pneumonia, subsequent closing of tract and generally declining health.

All further data comes from the 14 current TTO user response.

Time using oxygen and TTO  



Standard Deviation

Years on Oxygen



Years with TTO



Years on Oxygen before receiving TTO



States where the procedure was performed:  

CO – 6, all at different centers

WA – 2

GA, MI, MT, PA, SC, TN – 1 each

Did you notice any change to your health and/or activity level after getting TTO?

Of the 14 responses, 1 stated that it was too soon to tell (it had been less than 1 month).  Three people responded ‘No”, but all three stated cosmetic, comfort or vanity reasons that they were pleased with their TTO.  Nine responded yes.  All comments are included below.

How easy or difficult is it to manage your TTO (cleaning, connecting etc) compared  to using a cannula?

Scale:  1=much easier with TTO    5=same   10=much more difficult 

Of 13 responses, 11 gave it a “5” or “6”.  There was one each “1” and “2” response.  Comments were generally “It does involve more than just removing a cannula but it's no big deal”, “A little more time consuming”, etc.

Conserving Device:

Only 2 of the users reported using a separate conserving device.  (Editors note – this might be because TTO in itself delivers oxygen more efficiently, reducing the relative value of a conserving device).

Flow Settings Used

Where a range was reported, the median is used in this analysis



Std Deviation











Comments Regarding Ease of Use

It does involve more than just removing a cannula but it's no big deal

Bit more detail but not hard.

Obviously, it takes time and a little effort to change out the cannula on a daily basis,

but all-in-all, it is a great gadget.

A little more time consuming

It takes longer to clean the TTO. I have to clean mine every day.

I use a plastic beaded chain because of sensitivity to the metal chain.


Comments Regarding Health  

I can do things a little longer before getting so SOB 

I produce a great deal of mucus and so must clean/change my tubing more than others and would still have it done again.  I get so much better oxygenation with this! 

I felt much better, I can get mucus up by using the saline solution in the pink vials, I did not get to lower my oxygen but the difference in how I feel is well worth it. It also feels great not to have my nose so sore and raw inside.

I have had no hospital stays since I've been on TTO.

Easier breathing, fabulous mentally.

The TTO helps me to maintain a higher SAT, especially during exercise. 

Exercise level has increased--treadmill farther with less O2 use.

I was losing the cannula at night and waking up with a headache and a oximeter reading in the 70s. The TTO put a end to that. I was able to do more because due to the fact that a tank would last longer when on portable. 

Very rarely short of breath now going up stairs or walking briskly.  Greater endurance on treadmill, out walking & biking.

Other General Comments:

I am so glad that I had it done.

A Life!!!! In every way from being able to work out, to sleeping, shopping, movies etc. Simply put, overall quality of my life.

I look normal without the nose hose. No more sore ears and nose.

50% decrease in general use flow, 1/3 less for exercise.

I could write a book...I love it.  all about my last half marathon in this last week on my blog.  I used 10 L in the TTO and 10 L in a high flow cannula for the Slacker which went from 10,600 ft up to 10,880 near the continental divide in June, then the one last weekend was from Georgetown down to Idaho springs, a mere 8500 ft down to 7500 ft.  Used 12-15 L , averaged a bit over 16 minutes per mile.  My best half marathon time is 3:27:17, bless TTO for helping, not bad at age 70 to keep moving like that.  Will do the Denver Half in October, that is only about 5300 ft, but I still need 15 liters per minute as I like to keep my sats up around/ above 97%.  I think TTO has been a big help, and especially for just general around the house or out.

I have a Scoop and it affords great flexibility.  The Scoop gets easier as you use it but the Oxygen usage sometimes is a disadvantage as one has to carry a spare tank (especially at high school football games) – (Editors note: relative to using a conserving device and nasal cannula)

Initially used less oxygen so I was out more and more active. 

Would not want to go back to the cannula. Most people don't notice I am on oxygen.


I love it. I don't understand why the doctors are against it or why more patients don't have it done. People don't realize I am on oxygen using the TTO.

I'm much more active and no longer have that disabled feeling from wearing the cannula.

No more sore nose and ears.

The sore in my nose is finally healed after 3 years.

My voice is no longer hoarse, which is a bonus I've never seen mentioned.

My family tells me my color is better and I just look healthier (better oxygenated?).

I'm out and about way more now that I'm not self-conscious about the cannula.  My self confidence in all situations is immensely improved.

I was hoping my liter flow requirement would decline more (although it did go from 2 to 1 while sitting), but overall I am extremely happy with the TTO and wish I had done it sooner. 

The main reason I wanted a TTO was pure vanity.  Wanted that canula off my face!  But I'd say the main benefit was a tremendous relief to my nose.  Hadn't realized just how irritating it was. 

I would be EXTREMELY UPSET if for any reason I had to give up my TTO. 

Love it and never want to go back.


Editor’s Note:  Several users expressed disappointment that their oxygen usage didn’t go down, or in one case appeared to go up.  It may be that they are now using more oxygen, but also are better oxygenated.  So, if they were properly oxygenated previously with a cannula, then their TTO usage would indeed represent greater improvement.


 Compiled by Peter Bliss November 18, 2008


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