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J Crit Care. 1993 Jun;8(2):100-8.

Stressing the critically ill patient: the cardiopulmonary and metabolic responses to an acute increase in oxygen consumption.

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Department of Anesthesiology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032.


Critically ill patients frequently have compromised respiratory and hemodynamic function. Chest physical therapy has been previously shown to increase oxygen demand and therefore was used to examine how postoperative mechanically ventilated patients responded to an increased oxygen demand. We found that during chest physical therapy, oxygen consumption increased 52% +/- 37% (SD) over baseline values. There was a 35% +/- 32% increase in oxygen extraction and a 17% +/- 33% increase in oxygen delivery. Arterial and pulmonary artery pressures also increased. The cardiac output increase was due to increased heart rate with no change in stroke volume. The increases in minute ventilation and alveolar ventilation were not sufficient to eliminate the greater quantity of carbon dioxide produced, resulting in a small increase in PaCO2. There was no significant change in systemic vascular resistance. The increase in oxygen demand caused by chest physical therapy triggered an integrated physiological response that resulted in increased respiratory and cardiac performance. This in some ways, such as the lack of increase in systemic vascular resistance, resembles the response to exercise.

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