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October 18, 2016

Oxygen in the ICUToo Much of a Good Thing?

Author Affiliations
  • 1Interdepartmental Division of Critical Care Medicine and Departments of Medicine and Physiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  • 2Institute of Health Policy, Management, & Evaluation, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
  • 3Division of Respirology, Department of Medicine, University Health Network and Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada
  • 4Toronto General Research Institute, Toronto, Canada

Copyright 2016 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA. 2016;316(15):1553-1554. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.13800

Oxygen gas was discovered and described in the 1770s by Scheele, Priestley, and Lavoisier and shortly thereafter its therapeutic potential for patients with respiratory illness was appreciated.1 Oxygen has become a mainstay of treatment for acutely ill patients, with emphasis frequently placed on the importance of avoiding hypoxemia.2 Modern clinical practice guidelines for critically ill patients3 generally target the normal levels for the partial pressure of arterial oxygen (Pao2) and the oxyhemoglobin saturation in arterial blood (Sao2), which range from 89 through 100 mm Hg and 95% through 97%, respectively, depending on patient age.4

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