Perioperative use of oxygen: Variabilities across age

W. Habre, F. Peták

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)


Enormous interest has emerged in the perioperative use of high concentrations of inspired oxygen in an attempt to increase tissue oxygenation and thereby improve postoperative outcome. An extensive debate has arisen regarding the risk/benefit ratio of oxygen therapy, with some researchers advocating the benefits of perioperative hyperoxia, particularly with regard to surgical site infection, whereas others emphasize its detrimental consequences on multiple organs, particularly the lungs and the brain. As one aspect of this debate, there is increased awareness of effects of reactive oxygen metabolites, a feature that contributes to the complexity of achieving consensus regarding optimum oxygen concentration in the perioperative period. Many reviews have discussed the pros and cons in the use of perioperative oxygen supplementation, but the potential importance of age-related factors in hyperoxia has not been addressed. The present narrative review provides a comprehensive overview of the physiological mechanisms and clinical outcomes across the age range from neonates to the elderly. Risks greatly outweigh the benefits of hyperoxia both in the very young, where growth and development are the hallmarks, and in the elderly, where ageing increases sensitivity to oxidative stress. Conversely, in middle age, benefits of short-term administration of perioperative oxygen therapy exceed potential adverse change effects, and thus, oxygen supplementation can be considered an important therapy to improve anaesthesia management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)ii26-ii36
JournalBritish Journal of Anaesthesia
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014



  • atelectasis
  • hyperoxia
  • oxidative stress
  • oxygenases/toxicity surgical site infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

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