Intensive care clinicians' opinion of conservative oxygen therapy (SpO2 90-92%) for mechanically ventilated patients

Glenn M. Eastwood, Leah Peck, Helen Young, Satoshi Suzuki, Mercedes Garcia, Rinaldo Bellomo

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Background: In the ICU, SpO2≥96% are regularly targeted implying that more oxygen may be given than desirable. To reduce exposure to hyperoxia a conservative oxygen therapy protocol (targeted SpO2 90-92% using lowest FiO2) for mechanically ventilated patients was introduced in a single tertiary ICU in September 2012. Objectives: To describe intensive care clinicians' opinion of conservative oxygen therapy for mechanically ventilated adult patients. Methods: A structured multi-choice questionnaire of intensive care clinicians was conducted between February and March 2013. Results: Responses were received from 90 staff members: 81 intensive care nurses and 9 medical doctors. A majority of respondents (60.7%) considered oxygen related lung injury as 'a major concern'. Most respondents (81/89; 91.1%) felt conservative oxygen therapy was easy to perform and few respondents (6/88; 8%) considered performing conservative oxygen therapy to be stressful. Most respondents (58%) reported not performing more arterial blood gases to monitor PaO2 during conservative oxygen therapy and 90% (81/90) of respondents indicated a desire to continue conservative oxygen therapy. Free text comments indicated adoption of this protocol was a paradigm shift yet more education and research to elucidate the benefits/harm of lower oxygen saturation targeting is needed. Conclusions: Intensive care clinicians readily accepted the introduction of a conservative oxygen therapy protocol into their practice. Most respondents found conservative oxygen therapy easy and not stressful to perform. Further evaluation the administration of oxygen therapy, its management by intensive care clinicians and possible impact on outcome for mechanically ventilated patients appears well accepted by clinical staff.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-125
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Critical Care
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Hyperoxia
  • Intensive care
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Oxygen administration
  • Oxygen therapy

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