Oxygen is an essential element for life and without oxygen humans can survive for few minutes only. There should be a balance between oxygen demand and delivery in order to maintain homeostasis within the body. The two main organ systems responsible for oxygen delivery in the body and maintaining homeostasis are respiratory and cardiovascular system. Abnormal function of any of these two would lead to the development of hypoxemia and its detrimental consequences. There are various mechanisms of hypoxemia but ventilation/perfusion mismatch is the most common underlying mechanism of hypoxemia. The present review will focus on definition, various causes, mechanisms, and approach of hypoxemia in human.
Keywords: Diffusion limitation; hypoxemia; shunt; ventilation-perfusion mismatch.