Skip to main content
  • Poster presentation
  • Open access
  • Published:

Transfusion of red blood cells does not increase transcutaneous oxygen tension


We investigated the skin oxygen tension (tcpO2) of critically ill patients before, during and after transfusion (XF) of packed red blood cells (RBC).


Nineteen critically ill patients (11 men, age 67 ± 15 years, SAPS II 60.1 ± 19) who received 2 U RBC due to hemoglobin (Hb) <8 g/l underwent measurement of tcpO2 (TCM400; Radiometer Ltd, Copenhagen, Denmark) at the dorsum of one hand. Each patient served as her/his own control (baseline, after XF of 1, and second RBC). Ventilation and pressors were kept constant. Patients with bleeding, in shock and with circulatory assists were excluded. Cardiac index (CI) was determined by FloTrac™/Vigileo™.


Hb significantly increased (P < 0.002), while tcpO2 was not significantly different throughout XF (Figure 1; P = 0.72). Arterial pO2 (86 ± 14 vs. 91 ± 11 vs. 88 ± 18 mmHg, P = 0.68) and global hemodynamics (CI, P = 0.89, Figure 1; SVR: 822 ± 360 vs. 703 ± 233 vs. 941 ± 410, P = 0.13) did not change. Oxygen delivery (DO2) significantly increased (644 ± 188 vs. 744 ± 234 vs. 818 ± 214 ml/minute, P = 0.049). Interestingly, central venous oxygen saturation (ScvO2) decreased significantly during XF and did not completely recover until the end of XF (P < 0.05 midst XF vs. baseline; Figure 1).

Figure 1
figure 1

(abstract P423)


XF significantly increased Hb and calculated DO2 but not true tcpO2. Increase in DO2 occurred in the absence of changes in CI and oxygenation. ScvO2 significantly decreased during XF but did not completely recover until the end of the study period.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Rights and permissions

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Schlager, O., Gschwandtner, M., Nikfardjam, M. et al. Transfusion of red blood cells does not increase transcutaneous oxygen tension. Crit Care 15 (Suppl 1), P423 (2011).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • DOI: