Identifying and Quantifying Hypoxemia

The next part of the course is all about hypoxic respiratory failure. To treat hypoxemia you must understand it. The purpose of this sequence of tutorials is to lead up to discussions on CPAP and PEEP and provide a platform for understanding Pressure Controlled Modes of Ventilation. The first tutorial looks at oxyhemoglobin saturation, why the oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve is essential knowledge for the practicing clinician, how pulse oximeters work and how to quantify hypoxemia (A-aO2 gradient and PaO2/FiO2 ratio).

Tutorial 7: Understanding Ventilatory Failure, Alveolar Gas, Lung Volumes and Dead Space.

Clinicians who work in anesthesiology, intensive care or emergency medicine who are involved in the management of respiratory failure must understand the problem of failure to ventilate: “can’t breathe, won’t breathe.” This long tutorial covers a lot of ground and could be viewed in split sessions.

My principle goal is to give you the tools to work the problem of respiratory failure. Along the way I introduce the alveolar gas equation, ventilation perfusion matching and lung volumes; particularly functional residual capacity. In the second half (from 28:20 onwards), I discuss anatomical and physiological dead space, calculate out the dead space to tidal volume ratio and show how you can be inadvertently increasing physiologic dead space by applying PEEP or neglecting auto-PEEP.

Even if you think you know a lot about this subject, I guarantee that you will learn something.

As always, I welcome feedback.

Don’t Be Scared of Respiratory Physiology – it makes sense (well, most of it anyway!)