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Cardiology Research and Practice
Volume 2012, Article ID 370697, 7 pages
Review Article

Should We Monitor ScVO2 in Critically Ill Patients?

1Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Hospital Lariboisière 75475, Paris, France
2Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Hôspital Européen Georges Pompidou, Université Paris V Descartes, Sorbonne Paris Cité, 20 Rue Leblanc, 75015 Paris, France

Received 17 May 2011; Revised 8 July 2011; Accepted 25 July 2011

Academic Editor: Antoine Vieillard-Baron

Copyright © 2012 Sophie Nebout and Romain Pirracchio. 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.


Hemodynamic monitoring has become a real challenge in the intensive care unit. As an integrative parameter for oxygen supply/demand, venous oxygen saturation (SvO2) provided by pulmonary artery catheterization is one of the most popular parameters to assess the adequacy of cardiac output. However, technical limitations and potential iatrogenic complications constitute important limits for a widespread use. Regular central venous catheters coupled with a fiberoptic lumen for central venous oxygen saturation (ScvO2) monitoring have been proposed as a surrogate for SvO2 monitoring. The purpose of the present article is to review the physiological backgrounds of circulation, the pathophysiology of circulatory failure and subsequent venous oxygen saturation alterations, and finally the merits and the limits of the use of ScvO2 in different clinical situations.