Measurement of end-capillary PO2 with positron emission tomography

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. 1988 Jun;8(3):403-10. doi: 10.1038/jcbfm.1988.76.


The analysis of positron emission tomography measurements of oxygen metabolism has been extended to provide a quantitative estimate of end-capillary PO2. The principle of this extension rests on the idea that the oxygen extraction fraction can be used to calculate the end-capillary oxygen saturation of the blood. The relation between oxygen saturation and PO2 is obtained through the oxygen dissociation curve. Our studies show that in addition to the local oxygen extraction fraction, arterial PO2 and pH values are needed in the calculation, whereas fairly large variations in factors such as PCO2, hematocrit, hemoglobin, and plasma protein levels have little or no effect. Rough estimates of end-capillary PO2 can be made using standard O2 dissociation nomograms. Blood gas and acid-base properties of blood have been known for decades, making it possible to account accurately for individual differences that may be encountered when studying patients. Measurements in nine normal subjects yielded a mean end-capillary PO2 value of 31.2 mm Hg. The ability to make a quantitative visualization of altered patterns of end-capillary PO2 provides an additional dimension to the investigation of stroke disease and tumor metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Gas Analysis / methods*
  • Capillaries
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Models, Biological
  • Oxygen / blood*
  • Partial Pressure
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed*


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Oxygen