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To the Editor:—
In the communication "Hypoxemia in the Postoperative Period," (JAMA191:743-745 [March 1] 1965) I am bothered by the fact that the preoperative control values for PO2 were abnormal, both on air ("the majority of which were less than what is considered to be normal"), and especially on oxygen (average 345 mm Hg and 332 mm Hg in the younger and older groups). It is stated specifically that the patients were not under the influence of sedative or anticholinergic drugs. This suggests that the patients had lung disease or that the determinations were suspicious. The authors' conclusions may well be true, but if the patients had abnormal oxygenation prior to surgery, then I think the article loses its point and the data do not show that a patient who was normal before surgery may have abnormal oxygenation in the postoperative period. If the determinations are inaccurate,
McClenahan JB. Postoperative Hypoxemia. JAMA. 1965;192(5):424-425. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03080180082038