Metabolism and O2 Consumption in Trauma and Sepsis

  • L. Brazzi
  • P. Pelosi
  • L. Gattinoni
Conference paper


Since its initial discovery by Priestley in 1774, oxygen was considered essential for life as it enables the energy contained in food to be converted into a form which can be used to maintain higher forms of life. The amount of oxygen consumed to continually oxidate the chemical substrate producing carbon dioxide is usually expressed as volume consumed per minute(VO2) and it is normally in the range of 100 to 120 mL * min-1 * m2 or 200 mL * min-1 for a typical 70 kg adult man. Oxygen is normally delivered from the lung to the systemic tissues by means of the blood and its amount is the product of the oxygen content of arterial blood(20 mL * dL-1) times the cardiac output(5 L * min-1), i.e. 20 mL * dL-1 * 5 L * min-1 = 1000 mL * min-1(DO2). The relationship between VO2 and DO2 represents one of the most interesting autoregulating system in homeostasis since if one of the three components of DO2, that is O2 tension and haemoglobin concentration in arterial blood or systemic cardiac output, is abnormal, endogenous mechanisms are activated to regulate the other two in the way that normal DO2 can be restored. Under normal circumstances, oxygen is present, within the mitochondria, at concentrations far in excess of that required to maintain its oxidative function and even if DO2 decreases for any reason, VO2 remains stable over a wide range of DO2 while the O2 extraction, i.e. the ratio between the arterio-venous O2 difference and the arterial O2 content, increases(DO2-VO2 independency). If the oxygen supply is reduced below a critical value, VO2 starts to fall as the O2 extraction reaches its maximal level and the VO2 starts to be dependent on DO2(DO2-VO2 dependency).


Septic Shock Trauma Patient Cardiac Index Oxygen Delivery Sepsis Syndrome 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia, Milano 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Brazzi
  • P. Pelosi
  • L. Gattinoni

There are no affiliations available

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