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Crit Care Resusc. 2015 Sep;17(3):202-7.

Oxygenation targets, monitoring in the critically ill: a point prevalence study of clinical practice in Australia and New Zealand.

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Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand.
Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand.
CHRU Besançon, Université de Franche-Comté, Besançon, France.
Department of Intensive Care, Austin Hospital, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.
The George Institute for International Health, Sydney, NSW, Australia.



Many critically ill patients require supplemental oxygen. However, the optimal oxygen saturation measured by pulse oximetry (SpO₂) in intensive care unit patients is unknown.


To evaluate clinical practice in Australia and New Zealand ICUs in relation to SpO₂monitoring, prescription of SpO₂targets by doctors, and upper and lower limits of tolerance of high and low SpO₂levels by ICU bedside nurses.


Cross-sectional, observational study conducted on 2 days in 2013 involving adult patients in Australia and New Zealand ICUs.


Data from 350 adult ICU patients were included. SpO₂alarms were less likely to be disabled in patients who were invasively ventilated than in patients not receiving supplemental oxygen (4.8% v 15.1%; P = 0.02). In mechanically ventilated patients and non-ventilated patients receiving supplemental oxygen, the lower prescribed SpO₂limit and the ICU bedside nurses' stated limits for action for low SpO₂levels were 92% (interquartile range, 90%-94%). Upper SpO₂limits were less frequently prescribed than lower SpO₂limits (4.9% [95% CI, 3.0%- 7.7%] v 36.6% [95% CI, 31.7%-41.7%]); P < 0.01) and the observed SpO₂exceeded the prescribed upper limit on 10/17 occasions (59%) when an upper limit was prescribed.


Our findings suggest a relatively low level of vigilance in relation to prevention of high SpO₂compared with low SpO₂for adult patients in Australian and New Zealand ICUs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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