Oxygen delivery to tissues

R. W. Samsel*, P. T. Schumacker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


For health, well perfused tissues, oxygen uptake is determined primarily by metabolic need rather than by oxygen supply. Tissue hypoxia supervenes when tissue oxygen tension (PO2) falls below a critical point, and the point where this occurs can be predicted from the systemic oxygen delivery or extraction ratio. A growing body of evidence suggest that tissue oxygen extraction may be impaired in adult respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and sepsis. In these syndromes the minimum oxygen delivery needed to maintain a normal oxygen uptake appears to be increased, as tissues become hypoxic despite high levels of delivery. However, controversy surrounds every phase of this observation, from its experimental basis, to potential causes, to its implications for patient care. In this review, we discuss the physiology of oxygen transport, the determinants of tissue oxygenation in normal and phatological states, and the therapeutic implications of oxygen transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1258-1267
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Respiratory Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1991


  • Adult respiratory distress syndrome
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Oxygen extraction
  • Oxygen uptake
  • Pathological supply dependence
  • Sepsis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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