Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Hypoxemia


Background Whether noninvasive ventilation should be administered in patients with acute hypoxemic respiratory failure is debated. Therapy with high-flow oxygen through a nasal cannula may offer an alternative in patients with hypoxemia. Methods We performed a multicenter, open-label trial in which we randomly assigned patients without hypercapnia who had acute hypoxemic respiratory failure and a ratio of the partial pressure of arterial oxygen to the fraction of inspired oxygen of 300 mm Hg or less to high-flow oxygen therapy, standard oxygen therapy delivered through a face mask, or noninvasive positive-pressure ventilation. The primary outcome was the proportion of patients intubated at day 28; secondary outcomes included all-cause mortality in the intensive care unit and at 90 days and the number of ventilator-free days at day 28. Results A total of 310 patients were included in the analyses. The intubation rate (primary outcome) was 38% (40 of 106 patients) in the high-flow-oxygen group, 47% (44 of 94) in the standard group, and 50% (55 of 110) in the noninvasive-ventilation group (P=0.18 for all comparisons). The number of ventilator-free days at day 28 was significantly higher in the high-flow-oxygen group (24±8 days, vs. 22±10 in the standard-oxygen group and 19±12 in the noninvasive-ventilation group; P=0.02 for all comparisons). The hazard ratio for death at 90 days was 2.01 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.01 to 3.99) with standard oxygen versus high-flow oxygen (P=0.046) and 2.50 (95% CI, 1.31 to 4.78) with noninvasive ventilation versus high-flow oxygen (P=0.006). Conclusions In patients with nonhypercapnic acute hypoxemic respiratory failure, treatment with high-flow oxygen, standard oxygen, or noninvasive ventilation did not result in significantly different intubation rates. There was a significant difference in favor of high-flow oxygen in 90-day mortality. (Funded by the Programme Hospitalier de Recherche Clinique Interrégional 2010 of the French Ministry of Health; FLORALI number, NCT01320384 .).

Concepts: Oxygen, Intensive care medicine, Hypoxia, Partial pressure, Oxygen therapy, Breathing gas, Nasal cannula, Hypoxemia


To test the hypothesis that preterm infants randomized to a low vs high O(2) saturation target range have a higher incidence of intermittent hypoxemia.

Concepts: Hypoxia, Preterm birth, Oxygen saturation, Hypoxemia


Erythropoietin (EPO) is a glycoprotein hormone essential for the regulation of erythroid homeostasis. Although EPO production is prominent in the kidney and liver, its production in the central nervous system has also been detected. Tissue hypoxia due to systemic or local hypoxemia and acute anemia due to blood loss occurs frequently during various clinical settings, leading to a high possibility of elevated plasma EPO levels. However, it is largely unknown whether volatile anesthetic agents affect EPO production elicited by acute hypoxia in vivo. Male C57BL/6N CrSlc mice were exposed to a hypoxic insult as a result of bleeding-related anemia or hypoxemia while they were under anesthetized using various concentrations of isoflurane. EPO protein concentrations were assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and mRNA levels were measured by quantitative real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Plasma EPO concentration was induced as early as 3h following acute anemic and hypoxemic hypoxia and suppressed by clinically relevant doses of isoflurane in a dose-dependent manner. Anemic hypoxia induced EPO mRNA and protein synthesis in the kidney. In the kidney, isoflurane inhibited EPO induction caused by anemia but not that caused by hypoxemia. On the other hand, in the brain hypoxemia-induced EPO production was suppressed by isoflurane. Finally, qRT-PCR studies demonstrate that isoflurane differentially inhibit HIF-1α and HIF-2α mRNA expression in brain and kidney, indicating the involvement of HIF-2 in the hypoxia-induced EPO expression and inhibition of the induction by isoflurane.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Hemoglobin, Erythropoietin, Brain, Anemia, Hypoxia, Hypoxemia


Patients requiring emergency airway management are at great risk of hypoxemic hypoxia because of primary lung pathology, high metabolic demands, anemia, insufficient respiratory drive, and inability to protect their airway against aspiration. Tracheal intubation is often required before the complete information needed to assess the risk of periprocedural hypoxia is acquired, such as an arterial blood gas level, hemoglobin value, or even a chest radiograph. This article reviews preoxygenation and peri-intubation oxygenation techniques to minimize the risk of critical hypoxia and introduces a risk-stratification approach to emergency tracheal intubation. Techniques reviewed include positioning, preoxygenation and denitrogenation, positive end expiratory pressure devices, and passive apneic oxygenation.

Concepts: Hemoglobin, Oxygen, Pulmonology, Respiratory physiology, Mechanical ventilation, Endotracheal tube, Hypoxia, Hypoxemia


Despite many efforts, the pathophysiology and mechanism of blast-induced traumatic brain injury (bTBI) have not yet been elucidated, partially due to the difficulty of real-time diagnosis and extremely complex factors determining the outcome. In this study, we topically applied a laser-induced shock wave (LISW) to the rat brain through the skull, for which real-time measurements of optical diffuse reflectance and electroencephalogram (EEG) were performed. Even under conditions showing no clear changes in systemic physiological parameters, the brain showed a drastic light scattering change accompanied by EEG suppression, which indicated the occurrence of spreading depression, long-lasting hypoxemia and signal change indicating mitochondrial energy impairment. Under the standard LISW conditions examined, hemorrhage and contusion were not apparent in the cortex. To investigate events associated with spreading depression, measurement of direct current (DC) potential, light scattering imaging and stereomicroscopic observation of blood vessels were also conducted for the brain. After LISW application, we observed a distinct negative shift in the DC potential, which temporally coincided with the transit of a light scattering wave, showing the occurrence of spreading depolarization and concomitant change in light scattering. Blood vessels in the brain surface initially showed vasodilatation for 3-4 min, which was followed by long-lasting vasoconstriction, corresponding to hypoxemia. Computer simulation based on the inverse Monte Carlo method showed that hemoglobin oxygen saturation declined to as low as ∼35% in the long-term hypoxemic phase. Overall, we found that topical application of a shock wave to the brain caused spreading depolarization/depression and prolonged severe hypoxemia-oligemia, which might lead to pathological conditions in the brain. Although further study is needed, our findings suggest that spreading depolarization/depression is one of the key events determining the outcome in bTBI. Furthermore, a rat exposed to an LISW(s) can be a reliable laboratory animal model for blast injury research.

Concepts: Hemoglobin, Brain, Blood, Traumatic brain injury, Electroencephalography, Skull, Oxygen saturation, Hypoxemia


To the Editor: The review by Kraut and Madias (Dec. 11 issue)(1) presents several explanations for the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of lactic acidosis, but not all these explanations are supported. For example, the concept of tissue hypoxia in sepsis has no empirical basis and can be neither verified nor refuted. Indeed, whether tissue hypoxia exists in patients with sepsis may be challenged.(2) Similarly, during maximal exercise, lactate release occurs during fully preserved intracellular oxygenation.(3) Finally, during extreme hypoxemia (e.g., summiting Mount Everest), lactate levels are either normal or only minimally elevated. Lactate is a major biofuel used for intracellular, intercellular, . . .

Concepts: Hemoglobin, Hypoxia, Altitude sickness, Lactic acidosis, Hypoxemia


Some endurance athletes exhibit exercise-induced arterial hypoxemia during high-intensity exercise. Inhalation of hyperoxic gas during exercise has been shown to counteract this exercise-associated reduction in hemoglobin oxygen saturation (SaO2), but the effects of hyperoxic gas inhalation on performance and SaO2 during high-intensity intermittent exercise remain unclear. This study investigated the effects of hyperoxic gas inhalation on performance and SaO2 during high-intensity intermittent cycling exercise.

Concepts: Hemoglobin, Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Hypoxia, Oxygen saturation, Pulse oximeter, Hypoxemia, Winkler test for dissolved oxygen


BACKGROUND: The prognosis of hyperventilation syndrome (HVS) is generally good. However, it is important to proceed with care when treating HVS because cases of death following hyperventilation have been reported. This paper was done to demonstrate the clinical risk of post-hyperventilation apnea (PHA) in patients with HVS. CASE PRESENTATION: We treated two patients with HVS who suffered from PHA. The first, a 21-year-old woman, had a maximum duration of PHA of about 3.5 minutes and an oxygen saturation (SpO2) level of 60%. The second patient, a 22-year-old woman, had a maximum duration of PHA of about 3 minutes and an SpO2 level of 66%. Both patients had loss of consciousness and cyanosis. Because there is no widely accepted regimen for treating patients with prolonged PHA related to HVS, we administered artificial ventilation to both patients using a bag mask and both recovered without any after effects. CONCLUSION: These cases show that some patients with HVS develop prolonged PHA or severe hypoxia, which has been shown to lead to death in some cases. Proper treatment must be given to patients with HVS who develop PHA to protect against this possibility. If prolonged PHA or severe hypoxemia arises, respiratory assistance using a bag mask must be done immediately.

Concepts: Hemoglobin, Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Pulmonology, Patient, Hypoxia, Hypoxemia, Shallow water blackout


OBJECTIVE:: The management of hypoxemia in critically ill patients is challenging. Whilst the harms of tissue hypoxia are well recognized, the possibility of harm from excess oxygen administration, or other interventions targeted at mitigating hypoxemia, may be inadequately appreciated. The benefits of attempting to fully reverse arterial hypoxemia may be outweighed by the harms associated with high concentrations of supplemental oxygen and invasive mechanical ventilation strategies. We propose two novel related strategies for the management of hypoxemia in critically ill patients. First, we describe precise control of arterial oxygenation involving the specific targeting of arterial partial pressure of oxygen or arterial hemoglobin oxygen saturation to individualized target values, with the avoidance of significant variation from these levels. The aim of precise control of arterial oxygenation is to avoid the harms associated with inadvertent hyperoxia or hypoxia through careful and precise control of arterial oxygen levels. Secondly, we describe permissive hypoxemia: the acceptance of levels of arterial oxygenation lower than is conventionally tolerated in patients. The aim of permissive hypoxemia is to minimize the possible harms caused by restoration of normoxemia while avoiding tissue hypoxia. This review sets out to discuss the strengths and limitations of precise control of arterial oxygenation and permissive hypoxemia as candidate management strategies in hypoxemic critically ill patients. DESIGN:: We searched PubMed for references to “permissive hypoxemia/hypoxaemia” and “precise control of arterial oxygenation” as well as reference to “profound hypoxemia/hypoxaemia/hypoxia,” “severe hypoxemia/hypoxaemia/hypoxia.” We searched personal reference libraries in the areas of critical illness and high altitude physiology and medicine. We also identified large clinical studies in patients with critical illness characterized by hypoxemia such as acute respiratory distress syndrome. SUBJECTS:: Studies were selected that explored the physiology of hypoxemia in healthy volunteers or critically ill patients. SETTING:: The data were subjectively assessed and combined to generate the narrative. RESULTS:: Inadequate tissue oxygenation and excessive oxygen administration can be detrimental to outcome but safety thresholds lack definition in critically ill patients. Precise control of arterial oxygenation provides a rational approach to the management of arterial oxygenation that reflects recent clinical developments in other settings. Permissive hypoxemia is a concept that is untested clinically and requires robust investigation prior to consideration of implementation. Both strategies will require accurate monitoring of oxygen administration and arterial oxygenation. Effective, reliable measurement of tissue oxygenation along with the use of selected biomarkers to identify suitable candidates and monitor harm will aid the development of permissive hypoxemia as viable clinical strategy. CONCLUSIONS:: Implementation of precise control of arterial oxygenation may avoid the harms associated with excessive and inadequate oxygenation. However, at present there is no direct evidence to support the immediate implementation of permissive hypoxemia and a comprehensive evaluation of its value in critically ill patients should be a high research priority.

Concepts: Hemoglobin, Oxygen, Acute respiratory distress syndrome, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Hypoxia, Oxygen saturation, Oxygen therapy, Hypoxemia


Delineate risk factors associated with severe hypoxemia (O2 sat ≤87%) in infants and children younger than 2 years hospitalized with single pathogen HRV infection.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Opportunistic infection, Infection, Transmission and infection of H5N1, Hypoxia, Oxygen saturation, Hypoxemia