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Logo of ccforumBioMed CentralBiomed Central Web Sitesearchsubmit a manuscriptregisterthis articleCritical CareJournal Front Page
Crit Care. 2010; 14(Suppl 1): P151.
Published online 2010 March 1. doi:  10.1186/cc8383
PMCID: PMC2934306

Incidence of a low tissue oxygen saturation in a mixed population of critically ill patients


Tissue oxygen saturation (StO2; normal value 87 ± 6% [1]) measured with NIRS has been associated with disease severity in trauma [1]. The incidence of StO2 <75% that has been associated with organ failure [2] and its clinical consequences for ICU patients are unknown.


StO2 was measured on the thenar eminence (InSpectra StO2 Monitor Model 650; Hutchinson Technology) of all patients present in the ICU during 1 week. All patients were measured only once (on Monday when already admitted, or on the day of admission). Data are presented as mean ± SD unless otherwise specified.


Forty-one patients (age 53 ± 19 years; 63% males) were included. Fifty-nine percent of the patients were admitted following surgery. Median StO2 was 83% (IQR: 75 to 88) (Figure (Figure1).1). No relationship was found between day of admission and measured StO2 (Figure (Figure2).2). Thirty-one patients (76%) had StO2 below normal (Figure (Figure2,2, top line). Twelve (29%) patients had StO2 ≤75% (Figure (Figure2,2, dotted line). Seven patients had StO2 <70; mortality of these patients was 29% vs 9% in patients with StO2 >70% (NS).

Figure 1
Frequency distribution of StO2.
Figure 2
Day of admission at time of measurement vs StO2.


The incidence of an abnormal StO2 in critically ill patients is high. Also very low StO2 values are frequently found and may be associated with increased mortality.


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