Multicenter study of central venous oxygen saturation (ScvO(2)) as a predictor of mortality in patients with sepsis

Ann Emerg Med. 2010 Jan;55(1):40-46.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2009.08.014. Epub 2009 Oct 25.


Study objective: Abnormal (both low and high) central venous saturation (ScvO(2)) is associated with increased mortality in emergency department (ED) patients with suspected sepsis.

Methods: This was a secondary analysis of 4 prospectively collected registries of ED patients treated with early goal-directed therapy-based sepsis resuscitation protocols from 4 urban tertiary care hospitals. Inclusion criteria were sepsis, hypoperfusion defined by systolic blood pressure less than 90 mm Hg or lactate level greater than or equal to 4 mmol/L, and early goal-directed therapy treatment. ScvO(2) levels were stratified into 3 groups: hypoxia (ScvO(2) <70%); normoxia (ScvO(2) 71% to 89%); and hyperoxia (ScvO(2) 90% to 100%). The primary exposures were initial ScvO(2) and maximum ScvO(2) achieved, with the primary outcome as inhospital mortality. Multivariate analysis was performed.

Results: There were 619 patients who met criteria and were included. For the maximum ScvO(2), compared with the mortality rate in the normoxia group of 96 of 465 (21%; 95% confidence interval [CI] 17% to 25%), both the hypoxia mortality rate, 25 of 62 (40%; 95% CI 29% to 53%) and hyperoxia mortality rate, 31 of 92 (34%; 95% CI 25% to 44%) were significantly higher, which remained significant in a multivariate modeling. When the initial ScvO(2) measurement was analyzed in a multivariate model, only hyperoxia was significantly higher.

Conclusion: The maximum ScvO(2) value achieved in the ED (both abnormally low and high) was associated with increased mortality. In multivariate analysis for initial ScvO(2), the hyperoxia group was associated with increased mortality, but not the hypoxia group. This study suggests that future research aimed at targeting methods to normalize high ScvO(2) values by therapies that improve microcirculatory flow or mitochondrial dysfunction may be warranted.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Hyperoxia / blood
  • Hyperoxia / etiology*
  • Hyperoxia / mortality
  • Hypoxia / blood
  • Hypoxia / etiology*
  • Hypoxia / mortality
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Oxygen / blood*
  • Prognosis
  • Shock, Septic / blood*
  • Shock, Septic / complications
  • Shock, Septic / mortality*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Oxygen