by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Hypoxemia is a low level of oxygen in the blood. It decreases the amount of oxygen that reaches organs like the heart, kidney, and brain.
Hypoxemia may be caused by:
Things that may raise your risk of hypoxemia include:
You may have:
You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. Some signs like blue-ish nails or skin suggest low oxygen levels.
Your oxygen levels can be tested with:
Breathing tests may also be done to see how well your lungs are working.
Some may need emergency care right away. Other may need a change in their care plan.
The main treatment will be oxygen therapy. Oxygen may be delivered through a mask or a tube just under the nose. It will increase the amount of oxygen that passes into your lungs. It will then improve the amount of oxygen in your blood. Oxygen may be needed:
Not all hypoxemia can be prevented. If you have a condition that can lead to hypoxemia, follow your care plan. Let your care team know if you are having trouble with treatment.
American Lung Association
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
College of Family Physicians of Canada
Hypoxemia. Cleveland Clinic website. Available at: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/17727-hypoxemia. Updated May 7, 2018. Accessed May 1, 2019.
Hypoxemia—approach to the patient. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T920488/Hypoxemia-approach-to-the-patient. Updated September 1, 2017. Accessed May 1, 2019.
Last reviewed May 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 5/21/2019
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