Low tissue oxygen saturation at emergency center triage is predictive of intensive care unit admission

J Crit Care. 2014 Oct;29(5):775-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2014.05.006. Epub 2014 May 27.


Purpose: Timely recognition of critical patients by emergency center triage is an ongoing challenge. Peripheral tissue oxygen saturation (StO2) measurement has been used to monitor shock patients' responses to resuscitation. Interest has developed in evaluating StO2 as a triage tool, but limited studies have addressed critically ill patients.

Material and methods: This is a single-center, retrospective study of 158 emergent cancer patients with hypotension and/or modified systemic inflammatory response syndrome who underwent StO2 spot measurement at triage.

Results: Of the 57 patients with StO2 less than 70%, 17 went to the intensive care unit (ICU), whereas only 14 of the 101 patients with StO2 of 70% to 89% (P = .01) went to the ICU. There was no significant difference in non-ICU hospital admission or mortality between the 2 groups. The odds ratio of ICU admission for patients with StO2 less than 70% relative to those with StO2 of 70% to 89% was 2.64 (95% confidence interval, 1.18-5.87) and 2.87 (95% confidence interval, 1.23-6.66) when adjusted for mean arterial pressure, pulse, and temperature.

Conclusions: In this patient population, an StO2 less than 70% significantly increased the risk of ICU admission. Tissue oxygen saturation at triage identifies critical patients who may not be recognized by vital signs alone. Tissue oxygen saturation measurement could help providers make earlier decisions regarding hospital resource allocation.

Keywords: Near-infrared spectroscopy; Sepsis; Sto(2); Tissue oxygen saturation; Triage.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Critical Illness*
  • Female
  • Fever / diagnosis
  • Hospitalization*
  • Humans
  • Hypotension / metabolism
  • Hypothermia / diagnosis
  • Intensive Care Units*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oximetry
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sepsis / diagnosis
  • Sepsis / metabolism*
  • Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome / metabolism
  • Tachycardia / diagnosis
  • Tachypnea / diagnosis
  • Triage*