Pulse Oximetry FAQ

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What is the optimal SpO2 for patients with respiratory failure?

The optimal SpO2 for patients with respiratory failure has not been well established and is still being evaluated. The World Health Organization (WHO) guidance for patients with hypoxemic respiratory failure due to COVID-19 recommends the following targets: Initial SpO2 of >94% for stabilization, then >90% for stable patients who are not pregnant or 92-95% for stable patients who are pregnant. It is important not to make SpO2 goals too high, as this can cause oxygen toxicity and will deplete the oxygen supply more quickly. For more discussion on optimal SpO2 goals in patients with respiratory failure, please read more here.

References: WHO SARI Toolkit 

Keywords: target SpO2, goal, respiratory failure, COVID-19

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