Oxygen toxicity

New Horiz. 1993 Nov;1(4):504-11.


Oxygen therapy is administered to decrease tissue hypoxia and to relieve arterial hypoxemia. High concentrations of oxygen are often used in patients with adult respiratory distress syndrome. Supplying oxygen to animals has been known to produce tissue damage, with toxicity increasing with the increase of oxygen concentrations and exposure pressures. End-organ damage from hyperoxia depends on both the concentration of oxygen administered and the oxygen pressure during exposure. Prolonged exposure to hyperbaric oxygen causes central nervous system and pulmonary toxicity, which results in atelectasis, pulmonary edema, and seizures. Lung damage may occur as a result of normobaric hyperoxia. A severe retinopathy (retrolental fibroplasia) occurs in neonates during oxygen exposures. For all of these reasons, the lowest possible concentration of oxygen that relieves tissue hypoxia is recommended in patients with adult respiratory distress syndrome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Free Radicals
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Lung Diseases / chemically induced
  • Oxygen / metabolism
  • Oxygen / poisoning*
  • Oxygen Inhalation Therapy / adverse effects*
  • Poisoning / complications
  • Poisoning / etiology
  • Poisoning / physiopathology
  • Poisoning / prevention & control
  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome / therapy*
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity / chemically induced
  • Superoxide Dismutase / physiology
  • Time Factors


  • Free Radicals
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Oxygen