Elevation of systemic oxygen delivery in the treatment of critically ill patients

The New England Journal of Medicine
M A HayesD Watson

Abstract

Elevation of systemic oxygen delivery and consumption has been associated with an improved outcome in critically ill patients. We conducted a randomized trial to determine whether boosting oxygen delivery by infusing the inotropic agent dobutamine would improve the outcome in a diverse group of such patients. On the basis of previously published recommendations, we established the following goals: a cardiac index above 4.5 liters per minute per square meter of body-surface area, oxygen delivery above 600 ml per minute per square meter, and oxygen consumption above 170 ml per minute per square meter. If these goals were not achieved with volume expansion alone, patients were randomly assigned to a treatment or control group. The treatment group received intravenous dobutamine (5 to 200 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per minute) until all three goals had been achieved. Dobutamine was administered to the control group only if the cardiac index was below 2.8 liters per minute per square meter. A total of 109 patients were studied. In nine patients the therapeutic goals were achieved with volume expansion alone; all nine patients survived to leave the hospital. Fifty patients were randomly assigned to the treatment group, an...Continue Reading

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