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Potentially detrimental cardiovascular effects of oxygen in patients with chronic left ventricular systolic dysfunction


Background Although the haemodynamic effects of oxygen in healthy subjects are well documented, there have been no well-controlled studies of the effects of oxygen in patients with heart failure (HF).

Aims To non-invasively evaluate haemodynamic and neurohumoral effects of oxygen in patients with HF at rest.

Methods and results 13 men with heart failure and left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) were randomised in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial to receive medical air or oxygen (40% and high concentration via Hudson non-rebreathing mask). Haemodynamic measurements were made with applanation tonometry, impedance cardiography and venous occlusion plethysmography. Plasma C-terminal B-type natriuretic peptide and A-type natriuretic peptide were measured. Data were analysed with paired t tests. Cardiac output fell by −0.58 (0.62) l/min on high-flow oxygen compared with −0.02 (0.58) l/min on air, p=0.031. Oxygen caused a reduction in heart rate (−4.02 (4.21) vs 0.41 (5.35) beats/min, respectively, p=0.021) and a trend towards increased systemic vascular resistance (875 (1174) vs 235 (321) dyne/s/m5, p=0.050). Oxygen led to a paradoxical increase in forearm blood flow (0.513 (0.391) vs 0.024 (0.246) ml/min/100 ml forearm volume on air, p=0.01). Natriuretic peptides were unchanged with oxygen.

Conclusions High-concentration inhaled oxygen has significant haemodynamic effects in patients with LVSD and mild HF. Such effects may be detrimental in patients with decompensated HF.

  • Heart failure
  • hyperoxia
  • haemodynamics

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