January 20, 2000
More Oxygen During Surgery Found to Reduce Infections
Giving patients increased levels of oxygen during surgery cuts the incidence of infections in half, according to researchers from UC San Francisco. Dr. Daniel Sessler and his colleagues in the international Outcomes Research Group studied 500 patients undergoing colon surgery. Half received the conventional breathing mixture of 30% oxygen, while half received 80% oxygen.
The team reports in today’s New England Journal of Medicine that surgical wound infections developed in 28 of those given 30% oxygen, but in only 13 of those given higher levels. Six of those given conventional oxygen died of overwhelming infections within 15 days of the surgery, compared with only one of those given high levels, but the startling difference was not statistically significant.