Oxygen supplementation for critically ill patients-A protocol for a systematic review

Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2018 Aug;62(7):1020-1030. doi: 10.1111/aas.13127. Epub 2018 Apr 30.


Background: In critically ill patients, hypoxaemia is a common clinical manifestation of inadequate gas exchange in the lungs. Supplemental oxygen is therefore given to all critically ill patients. This can result in hyperoxaemia, and some observational studies have identified harms with hyperoxia. The objective of this systematic review is to critically assess the evidence of randomised clinical trials on the effects of higher versus lower inspiratory oxygen fractions or targets of arterial oxygenation in critically ill adult patients.

Methods: We will search for randomised clinical trials in major international databases. Two authors will independently screen and select references for inclusion using Covidence, extract data and assess the methodological quality of the included randomised clinical trials using the Cochrane risk of bias tool. Any disagreement will be resolved by consensus. We will analyse the extracted data using Review Manager and Trial Sequential Analysis. To assess the quality of the evidence, we will create a 'Summary of Findings' table containing our primary and secondary outcomes using the GRADE assessment.

Discussion: Supplemental oxygen administration is widely recommended in international guidelines despite lack of robust evidence of its effectiveness. To our knowledge, no systematic review of randomised clinical trials has investigated the effects of oxygen supplementation in critically ill patients. This systematic review will provide reliable evidence to better inform future trialists and decision-makers on clinical practice on supplemental oxygen administration in critically ill patients.

Keywords: critically ill; hyperoxaemia; hypoxaemia; intensive care; supplemental oxygen; systematic review.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Protocols*
  • Critical Illness / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Oxygen / therapeutic use*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic


  • Oxygen

Associated data

  • GENBANK/CRD42017058011