Noninvasive SpO2/FiO2 ratio as surrogate for PaO2/FiO2 ratio during simulated prolonged field care and ground and high-altitude evacuation

Andriy I. Batchinsky*, Daniel Wendorff, John Jones, Brendan Beely, Teryn Roberts, Jae Hyek Choi, George Harea, Leopoldo C. Cancio, Michael Davis, Jeremy Cannon, Valerie Sams

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Diagnosis of lung injury requires invasive blood draws to measure oxygen tension in blood. This capability is nonexistent in austere settings and during prolonged field care (PFC), that is, medical care characterized by inability to evacuate casualties from the point of injury for up to 72 hours. We analyzed pulse-oximeter–derived noninvasive SpO2 and assessed the SpO2/FiO2 ratio (SFR) as a surrogate for the PaO2/ FiO2 ratio (PFR), an accepted marker of lung function. We hypothesized that SFR is a suitable surrogate for PFR in a data set from animal models of combat-relevant trauma, PFC, and aeromedical evacuation. METHODS: Data from anesthetized swine (N = 30) subjected to combat relevant trauma, resuscitation, and critical care interventions were analyzed. Pairwise correlations and Bland-Altman and regression analyses were performed to compare PFR and SFR, based on averaged SpO2 values obtained from two monitoring devices. RESULTS: We performed 683 pairwise correlations. SpO2/FiO2 ratio was numerically higher than PFR with a 313 cutoff values for acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) (PFR ≥300). Sensitivity/specificity for detection of mild ARDS was 75%/73% with a 200 to 300 PFR range corresponding to 252 to 312 SFR range. For moderate ARDS, sensitivity/specificity was 61%/93% with a 100 to 200 PFR range corresponding to 191 to 251 SFR range. For severe ARDS, sensitivity/specificity was 49%/97% with a 0 to 100 PFR range corresponding to 0 to 190 SFR range. For all groups, areas under the receiver operating characteristic curves ranged from 0.76 to 0.98. CONCLUSION: SpO2/FiO2 ratio is a useful surrogate for PFR when arterial blood gas testing is not available during dynamically changing physiologic conditions, for example, during austere conditions, PFC, or aeromedical evacuation, and may permit early detection of casualties in need of lung-specific life-saving interventions. Studies in critically ill humans are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S126-S131
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • chest trauma
  • partial pressure of oxygen
  • pulse oximetry
  • swine


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