H.15 Decreasing Smoking-Related Home Oxygen Burn Injuries
Home oxygen is prescribed to patients with pulmonary diseases who are unable to maintain oxygen saturations adequately on their own. The most frequent long-term indication for home oxygen therapy is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is caused by cigarette smoking. Despite education that patients who are on home oxygen should not actively smoke, many patients continue to do so, and consequently suffer from smoking-related burn injuries while using home oxygen due to oxygen being an accelerant of potential surrounding ignition sources. The national incidence and resource burden of this problem has been described in the Journal of Burn Care Research (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26284642/).
There are no current technologies available to mitigate the risk of burn injuries sustained while smoking on home oxygen therapy. The main strategy that has been relied on to date is patient education on the importance of abstinence from smoking and avoiding open flames while using home oxygen therapy.
The goal of this project would be to design a solution that decreases the risk of home oxygen related burn injuries. It is estimated that in the United States over 800,000 patients are currently receiving home oxygen therapy. These numbers have increased since the COVID-19 pandemic, during which many patients are discharged from the hospital with a temporary prescription for home oxygen therapy. There are approximately 1190 emergency room visits annually for thermal burns involving home oxygen therapy with mortality ranging from 20-50% and cost of hospitalization ranging from $9,566 to $67,022.
- Biology/Pre-Health Experience