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Canadian Respiratory Journal
Volume 2017, Article ID 2834956, 7 pages
Review Article

Harmful Effects of Hyperoxia in Postcardiac Arrest, Sepsis, Traumatic Brain Injury, or Stroke: The Importance of Individualized Oxygen Therapy in Critically Ill Patients

1Department of Intensive Care, Erasme Hospital, Université Libre de Bruxelles, 1070 Brussels, Belgium
2Department of Intensive Care, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center, Guangzhou 510060, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Jean-Louis Vincent; gro.evisnetni@tnecnivlj

Received 13 November 2016; Accepted 27 December 2016; Published 26 January 2017

Academic Editor: Wan-Jie Gu

Copyright © 2017 Jean-Louis Vincent et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The beneficial effects of oxygen are widely known, but the potentially harmful effects of high oxygenation concentrations in blood and tissues have been less widely discussed. Providing supplementary oxygen can increase oxygen delivery in hypoxaemic patients, thus supporting cell function and metabolism and limiting organ dysfunction, but, in patients who are not hypoxaemic, supplemental oxygen will increase oxygen concentrations into nonphysiological hyperoxaemic ranges and may be associated with harmful effects. Here, we discuss the potentially harmful effects of hyperoxaemia in various groups of critically ill patients, including postcardiac arrest, traumatic brain injury or stroke, and sepsis. In all these groups, there is evidence that hyperoxia can be harmful and that oxygen prescription should be individualized according to repeated assessment of ongoing oxygen requirements.