Purpose: Hyperoxia may induce pulmonary injury and may increase oxidative stress. In this retrospective database study we aimed to evaluate the response to hyperoxia by intensivists in a Dutch academic intensive care unit.
Methods: All arterial blood gas (ABG) data from mechanically ventilated patients from 2005 until 2009 were extracted from an electronic storage database of a mixed 32-bed intensive care unit in a university hospital in Amsterdam. Mechanical ventilation settings at the time of the ABG tests were retrieved.
Results: The results of 126,778 ABG tests from 5,498 mechanically ventilated patients were retrieved including corresponding ventilator settings. In 28,222 (22%) of the ABG tests the arterial oxygen tension (PaO(2)) was >16 kPa (120 mmHg). In only 25% of the tests with PaO(2) >16 kPa (120 mmHg) was the fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO(2)) decreased. Hyperoxia was accepted without adjustment in ventilator settings if FiO(2) was 0.4 or lower.
Conclusion: Hyperoxia is frequently seen but in most cases does not lead to adjustment of ventilator settings if FiO(2) <0.41. Implementation of guidelines concerning oxygen therapy should be improved and further research is needed concerning the effects of frequently encountered hyperoxia.