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Curr Opin Crit Care. 2018 Sep 20. doi: 10.1097/MCC.0000000000000549. [Epub ahead of print]

Oxygen therapy in acute resuscitation.

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Department of Anaesthesia and Pain Medicine.
Intensive Care Unit, Wellington Hospital.
Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand.



Avoidance and treatment of hypoxaemia is a cornerstone of acute resuscitation and yet the optimal approach to oxygen therapy in the acute care setting is uncertain. The aim of this review is to appraise recent evidence relating to the provision of supplemental oxygen to adult patients with acute illnesses with a focus on the resuscitation phase.


Recent findings generally support the notion that exposure to hyperoxaemia is associated with adverse outcomes in acutely ill adults with a range of diseases and raise the possibility that liberal provision of oxygen may cause harm. Several ongoing multicentre randomized trials aim to assess the effects of different oxygen therapy regimens on patient outcomes to provide a foundation for evidence-based recommendations regarding the use of supplemental oxygen in Intensive Care Unit patients.


At present, evidence is lacking to support routine liberal oxygen administration in acutely ill patients and, in most circumstances, a reasonable approach is to titrate supplemental oxygen to achieve an arterial oxygen saturation measured by pulse oximetry (SpO2) of 92-96% with the aim of avoiding both hypoxaemia and hyperoxaemia.

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