How much oxygen after ROSC?

I reported a previous JAMA publication demonstrating an association between hyperoxia and mortality in patients resuscitated post-cardiac arrest. The same authors have published furthur data to better define the relationship between supranormal oxygen tension and outcome in postresuscitation patients. They hypothesised that a linear dose-dependent relationship would be present in the association between supranormal oxygen tension and in-hospital mortality.

Background– Laboratory and recent clinical data suggest that hyperoxemia after resuscitation from cardiac arrest is harmful; however, it remains unclear if the risk of adverse outcome is a threshold effect at a specific supranormal oxygen tension, or is a dose-dependent association. We aimed to define the relationship between supranormal oxygen tension and outcome in postresuscitation patients.

Methods and Results– This was a multicenter cohort study using the Project IMPACT database (intensive care units at 120 US hospitals). Inclusion criteria were age >17 years, nontrauma, cardiopulmonary resuscitation preceding intensive care unit arrival, and postresuscitation arterial blood gas obtained. We excluded patients with hypoxia or severe oxygenation impairment. We defined the exposure by the highest partial pressure of arterial oxygen (PaO(2)) over the first 24 hours in the ICU. The primary outcome measure was in-hospital mortality. We tested the association between PaO(2) (continuous variable) and mortality using multivariable logistic regression adjusted for patient-oriented covariates and potential hospital effects. Of 4459 patients, 54% died. The median postresuscitation PaO(2) was 231 (interquartile range 149 to 349) mm Hg. Over ascending ranges of oxygen tension, we found significant linear trends of increasing in-hospital mortality and decreasing survival as functionally independent. On multivariable analysis, a 100 mm Hg increase in PaO(2) was associated with a 24% increase in mortality risk (odds ratio 1.24 [95% confidence interval 1.18 to 1.31]. We observed no evidence supporting a single threshold for harm from supranormal oxygen tension.

Conclusion– In this large sample of postresuscitation patients, we found a dose-dependent association between supranormal oxygen tension and risk of in-hospital death.

Relationship Between Supranormal Oxygen Tension and Outcome After Resuscitation From Cardiac Arrest
Circulation. 2011 Jun 14;123(23):2717-2722

Australasian investigators provided the following critique of the original JAMA study:

Unfortunately, these investigators used only the first set of arterial blood gases in the ICU to assess oxygenation, excluded close to 30% of patients because of lack of arterial blood gas data and did not adjust for standard illness severity scores. Their conclusion that hyperoxia is a robust predictor of mortality in patients after resuscitation form cardiac arrest was therefore potentially affected by selection bias and by insufficient adjustment for major confounders. Thus, their results are of uncertain significance and require confirmation.

They undertook their own study of 12,108 patients:

INTRODUCTION: Hyperoxia has recently been reported as an independent risk factor for mortality in patients resuscitated from cardiac arrest. We examined the independent relationship between hyperoxia and outcomes in such patients.

METHODS: We divided patients resuscitated from nontraumatic cardiac arrest from 125 intensive care units (ICUs) into three groups according to worst PaO2 level or alveolar-arterial O2 gradient in the first 24 hours after admission. We defined ‘hyperoxia’ as PaO2 of 300 mmHg or greater, ‘hypoxia/poor O2 transfer’ as either PaO2 < 60 mmHg or ratio of PaO2 to fraction of inspired oxygen (FiO2 ) < 300, ‘normoxia’ as any value between hypoxia and hyperoxia and ‘isolated hypoxemia’ as PaO2 < 60 mmHg regardless of FiO2. Mortality at hospital discharge was the main outcome measure.

RESULTS: Of 12,108 total patients, 1,285 (10.6%) had hyperoxia, 8,904 (73.5%) had hypoxia/poor O2 transfer, 1,919 (15.9%) had normoxia and 1,168 (9.7%) had isolated hypoxemia (PaO2 < 60 mmHg). The hyperoxia group had higher mortality (754 (59%) of 1,285 patients; 95% confidence interval (95% CI), 56% to 61%) than the normoxia group (911 (47%) of 1,919 patients; 95% CI, 45% to 50%) with a proportional difference of 11% (95% CI, 8% to 15%), but not higher than the hypoxia group (5,303 (60%) of 8,904 patients; 95% CI, 59% to 61%). In a multivariable model controlling for some potential confounders, including illness severity, hyperoxia had an odds ratio for hospital death of 1.2 (95% CI, 1.1 to 1.6). However, once we applied Cox proportional hazards modelling of survival, sensitivity analyses using deciles of hypoxemia, time period matching and hyperoxia defined as PaO2 > 400 mmHg, hyperoxia had no independent association with mortality. Importantly, after adjustment for FiO2 and the relevant covariates, PaO2 was no longer predictive of hospital mortality (P = 0.21).

CONCLUSIONS: Among patients admitted to the ICU after cardiac arrest, hyperoxia did not have a robust or consistently reproducible association with mortality. We urge caution in implementing policies of deliberate decreases in FiO2 in these patients.

Arterial hyperoxia and in-hospital mortality after resuscitation from cardiac arrest.
Crit Care. 2011 Mar 8;15(2):R90. [Epub ahead of print]
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What’s the best approach in the light of these differing results? My approach is to avoid hypoxia, since that’s probably bad, and to actively avoid overoxygenating as part of my general neuroprotection checklist in a post-cardiac arrest patient. It would seem prudent to follow the recommendations of ILCOR, summarised by the European Resuscitation Council guidelines as:

Recognition of the potential harm caused by hyperoxaemia after ROSC is achieved: once ROSC has been established and the oxygen saturation of arterial blood (SaO2) can be monitored reliably (by pulse oximetry and/or arterial blood gas analysis), inspired oxygen is titrated to achieve a SaO2 of 94–98%

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