The normobaric oxygen paradox states that a short exposure to normobaric hyperoxia followed by rapid return to normoxia creates a condition of ‘relative hypoxia’ which stimulates erythropoietin (EPO) production. Alterations in glutathione and reactive oxygen species (ROS) may be involved in this process. We tested the effects of short-term hyperoxia on EPO levels and the microcirculation in critically ill patients.
In this prospective, observational study, 20 hemodynamically stable, mechanically ventilated patients with inspired oxygen concentration (FiO2) ≤0.5 and PaO2/FiO2 ≥ 200 mmHg underwent a 2-hour exposure to hyperoxia (FiO2 1.0). A further 20 patients acted as controls. Serum EPO was measured at baseline, 24 h and 48 h. Serum glutathione (antioxidant) and ROS levels were assessed at baseline (t0), after 2 h of hyperoxia (t1) and 2 h after returning to their baseline FiO2 (t2). The microvascular response to hyperoxia was assessed using sublingual sidestream dark field videomicroscopy and thenar near-infrared spectroscopy with a vascular occlusion test.
EPO increased within 48 h in patients exposed to hyperoxia from 16.1 [7.4–20.2] to 22.9 [14.1–37.2] IU/L (p = 0.022). Serum ROS transiently increased at t1, and glutathione increased at t2. Early reductions in microvascular density and perfusion were seen during hyperoxia (perfused small vessel density: 85% [95% confidence interval 79–90] of baseline). The response after 2 h of hyperoxia exposure was heterogeneous. Microvascular perfusion/density normalized upon returning to baseline FiO2.
A two-hour exposure to hyperoxia in critically ill patients was associated with a slight increase in EPO levels within 48 h. Adequately controlled studies are needed to confirm the effect of short-term hyperoxia on erythropoiesis.
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- Effects of short-term hyperoxia on erythropoietin levels and microcirculation in critically Ill patients: a prospective observational pilot study
- BioMed Central
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