Oxygen delivery to the tissues each minute is the product of arterial oxygen content and cardiac output. Hence oxygen delivery can be compromised as much by a low haemoglobin concentration or low cardiac output as by a fall in the SaOdos. Following circulation through the tissues, the average oxygen saturation in the venous blood returning to the right side of the heart (mixed venous blood) is typically about 75% in healthy individuals at rest, a figure which implies a considerable “reserve” in the oxygen delivery system. The level of oxygenation of peripheral venous blood, however, will vary depending on local metabolism and oxygen consumption. The reserve in the system is called upon, for example, during exercise when the contracting muscles extract more oxygen such that the saturation of venous blood falls. Relatively greater extraction of oxygen by vital organs also occurs if cardiac output is impaired resulting again in reduction in mixed venous saturation. The complex regulatory mechanisms involved are reviewed in detail in the physiology section of the British Thoracic Society emergency oxygen guideline .
Insights fresh air saturation and partial stress
O2) and partial pressure (PO2) is described graphically by the oxygen–haemoglobin dissociation curve (ODC) (figure 1). Continue reading