FiO2, in the field of
medicine, is the fraction of inspired oxygenin a gas mixture.
The FiO2 is expressed as a number from 0 (0%) to 1 (100%). The FiO2 of normal room air is 0.21 (21%).
A patient's FiO2 may be varied through the use of different
Venturi masks, in combination with varying oxygen flow rates. In addition, most mechanical ventilators have controls for adjusting FiO2. An increased FiO2 is necessary in managing adequate oxygenation in patients who are critically ill due to causes such as major surgery, acute lung injury, sepsis, pneumonia, congestive heart failure, or other cardiopulmonary disease. The oxygenation to a patient on a ventilator can be manipulated by changing not only Fio2, but also the tidal volume,the respiratory rate and having a Positive end-expiratory pressure(PEEP). Generally the FiO2 is maintained at less than 40%. Higher settings can lead to oxygen toxicity.
Another common misconception is that the FiO2 changes with elevation. It remains at 0.21 at all altitudes within the atmosphere. What changes is the barometric pressure of air. At altitude, therefore, the "
partial pressure" of oxygen delivered by that 21% of oxygen is lower. The partial pressure is the driving force to oxygenate the blood and therefore a lower partial pressure makes it that much harder to get O2 delivered to the tissues that require it, resulting in hypoxia.
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