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Physical examination plays a very important role in the evaluation of critically ill patients. Certain features such as skin color, capillary refill, mentation, urine output, and pulse quality can tell us a lot about the patient’s hemodynamic status. However, some very important features remain hidden even from the most experienced observer or become obvious only at their extremes. These are bicarbonate and lactate levels, hydrogen ion concentrations (i.e., pH), and the balance between oxygen delivery and consumption. Although for detailed monitoring invasive hemodynamic measurements are required, these are not available in every patient. However, arterial and central venous catheters are part of routine monitoring of the intensive care patient, and a simple blood gas measurement can reveal important physiological processes, which cannot be detected otherwise. In the coming chapter, we are going to discuss the rationale and clinical implication of the venous oxygen saturation.
KeywordsOxygen delivery Oxygen consumption Tissue oxygenation Oxygen extraction Fluid resuscitation
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