PFOX: Pulmonary Fibrosis Ambulatory Oxygen Trial

Study Purpose

The fibrotic interstitial lung diseases (fILD) are characterised by lung scarring, distressing breathlessness and poor health-related quality of life. Exertional desaturation (low blood oxygen during exercise) is a hallmark of fILD, occurring in over 50% of patients. It is sometimes treated with ambulatory oxygen therapy (AOT), which involves breathing supplemental oxygen during physical activity. However the absence of clinical trials has given rise to marked variations in policy and practice globally. Even where AOT is available, treatment adherence using the traditional delivery method of cylinder gas is poor. Recently new devices called portable oxygen concentrators (POCs), have become available, which are lighter and more maneuverable than a cylinder. This may enhance adherence and maximize treatment benefits. This trial will determine the clinical benefits and societal costs of AOT for people with fILD and exertional desaturation. A randomised controlled trial with blinding of participants, assessors and clinicians, and an embedded economic evaluation will be conducted. A total of 260 participants with fILD and exertional desaturation will be randomly assigned to use either AOT or air delivered using a POC for 6 months. If this trial demonstrates clinical and economic benefits of AOT then the findings can be rapidly translated into practice.

Recruitment Criteria

Accepts Healthy Volunteers

Healthy volunteers are participants who do not have a disease or condition, or related conditions or symptoms

Study Type

An interventional clinical study is where participants are assigned to receive one or more interventions (or no intervention) so that researchers can evaluate the effects of the interventions on biomedical or health-related outcomes.

An observational clinical study is where participants identified as belonging to study groups are assessed for biomedical or health outcomes.

Searching Both is inclusive of interventional and observational studies.

Eligible Ages 18 Years and Over
Gender All
More Inclusion & Exclusion Criteria

Inclusion Criteria:

  • - Confirmed diagnosis of Fibrotic Interstitial Lung Disease - Stable pharmacotherapy over the last 3 months - Exertional desaturation (SpO2≤88% for at least 10 consecutive seconds) during a 6 Minute Walking Test performed on room air

    Exclusion Criteria:

    - Currently using or eligible for long term oxygen therapy (PaO2≤55 mmHg at rest on room air, or 56-59 mmHg with evidence of right heart failure) - Current smokers - Pregnant patients - Patients cognitively unable to consent; or if death or transplant is anticipated within the study period.
- Participants currently in pulmonary rehabilitation - Non-ambulant patients - Admission to an acute care hospital within the last 30 days

Trial Details

Trial ID:

This trial id was obtained from, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, providing information on publicly and privately supported clinical studies of human participants with locations in all 50 States and in 196 countries.


Phase 1: Studies that emphasize safety and how the drug is metabolized and excreted in humans.

Phase 2: Studies that gather preliminary data on effectiveness (whether the drug works in people who have a certain disease or condition) and additional safety data.

Phase 3: Studies that gather more information about safety and effectiveness by studying different populations and different dosages and by using the drug in combination with other drugs.

Phase 4: Studies occurring after FDA has approved a drug for marketing, efficacy, or optimal use.

Lead Sponsor

The sponsor is the organization or person who oversees the clinical study and is responsible for analyzing the study data.

Monash University
Principal Investigator

The person who is responsible for the scientific and technical direction of the entire clinical study.

Anne Holland, Professor
Principal Investigator Affiliation Monash University
Agency Class

Category of organization(s) involved as sponsor (and collaborator) supporting the trial.

Overall Status Recruiting
Countries Australia

The disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury that is being studied.

Fibrotic Interstitial Lung Disease
Additional Details

Interstitial lung diseases (ILDs) are characterized by scarring of lung tissue. Stiffening of the lungs leads to reduced transfer of oxygen into the blood, decreased exercise capacity and premature death. Around 85% of the ILDs are known as fibrotic ILD (fILD), a form of ILD which tends to have worse outcomes than other types of ILD. People with fibrotic ILD often experience distressing breathlessness, cough and fatigue; loss of independence and life roles; financial strain; and unpleasant treatment side effects.The most common of the fILDs is idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF), which has an average survival of 3 years from diagnosis. Recently, two new treatments have been shown to halve the annual decline in lung function in mild to moderate IPF, making it a 'treatable' condition for the first time. However, these treatments only slow the decline in lung function; they do not stabilize or reverse it, nor do patients experience improved quality of life or breathlessness. For people with fILD who have abnormally low oxygen in the blood at rest, long term oxygen therapy (LTOT, used ≥18 hours per day) is strongly recommended, based on survival benefits in studies of people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). However, for people with fILD who have low oxygen levels only during exertion, the role of oxygen therapy is not clear. Ambulatory oxygen therapy (AOT), defined as the use of oxygen during exercise and activities of daily living, has historically been used to improve blood oxygen levels and exercise capacity. However, many people with fILD find this treatment difficult to use. Oxygen cylinders are heavy and run out quickly, therefore patient burden often exceeds any benefits. Portable oxygen concentrators (POCs) are newly available, lighter and rechargeable. However there are potential disadvantages to POCs. Generally, they deliver oxygen in pulses, which is where oxygen is delivered only when breathing in, and they do not deliver 100% oxygen. Doctors often express concerns that POCs cannot meet the demands of people with fILD during exercise. Recently it was shown that people with fILD who use a POC have similar blood oxygen levels to those who use a cylinder during exercise, suggesting that this might be a useful treatment. This study will examine the benefits and costs of ambulatory oxygen, delivered using a POC, in people with fILD and exertional desaturation. The aim is to compare the impact of AOT vs.#46; air in people with fILD who have low blood oxygen during exercise, and to compare the cost-effectiveness of AOT and air in fILD. A total of 260 people with fILD will be invited to participate. The trial will be conducted at four sites in Australia and two sites in Sweden. Participants will be randomly allocated into two groups; Group 1 will be administered AOT using a POC (AOT group); and Group 2 will be administered sham AOT using an identical POC (air group). Participants, health professionals and trial staff will not be aware of which POC is being used. The allocated treatment will be delivered for 6 months. Measurements of physical activity during daily life, symptoms, exercise capacity and HRQOL will be collected at the beginning of the trial, and 3 and 6 months after treatment has commenced. Information about use of health care services, both from hospital records and directly from participants will also be collected.

Arms & Interventions


Experimental: Oxygen therapy with POC (AOT group)

Patients will receive ambulatory oxygen therapy provided by a portable oxygen concentrator and will be encouraged to use it at all times when they are moving about, including walking at home or in the community, during exercise or during other activities.

Sham Comparator: Sham oxygen therapy with POC (air group)

Patients will receive sham ambulatory oxygen therapy provided by a portable oxygen concentrator and will be encouraged to use it at all times when they are moving about, including walking at home or in the community, during exercise or during other activities.


Other: - Ambulatory Oxygen Therapy

Supplemental oxygen delivered during exercise and activities of daily living via a portable oxygen concentrator

Other: - Sham Ambulatory Oxygen Therapy

Air delivered during exercise and activities of daily living via a portable oxygen concentrator that has been modified to deliver air

Contact a Trial Team

If you are interested in learning more about this trial, find the trial site nearest to your location and contact the site coordinator via email or phone. We also strongly recommend that you consult with your healthcare provider about the trials that may interest you and refer to our terms of service below.

International Sites

Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia




Monash University

Melbourne, Victoria, 3004

Site Contact

Anne Holland, PhD

+61 3 99030214

Terms of Service

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