Health and Fitness

Exploring completely happy hypoxia in COVID-19 sufferers

In a latest examine printed in Respiratory Medicine, researchers reported that silent hypoxia was not distinctive to coronavirus illness 2019 (COVID-19).

Study: Silent hypoxia is not an identifiable characteristic in patients with COVID-19 infection. Image Credit: bangoland/Shutterstock
Study: Silent hypoxia will not be an identifiable attribute in sufferers with COVID-19 an infection. Image Credit: bangoland/Shutterstock


Silent hypoxemia syndrome, well-tolerated hypoxemia with comparatively much less dyspnea, and its colloquial time period ‘happy hypoxia’ had been launched in journalistic and medical settings to explain the physiologic response of sufferers to pneumonitis brought on by extreme acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2). Hypoxemia relative to the fraction of impressed oxygen (FiO2) is believed to be a greater marker for COVID-19 severity than absolute hypoxemia.

The peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2)-to-FiO2 ratio (SFR) is used analogously with arterial oxygen pressure (PaO2)-to-FiO2 ratio (PFR), which describes the severity of acute respiratory misery syndrome (ARDS). The respiratory charge oxygenation (ROX) index quantified because the SFR-to-respiratory charge ratio may predict the necessity to intubate COVID-19 sufferers. The affiliation between increased respiratory charge and failure of non-invasive oxygenation is contradictory to the notion that asymptomatic hypoxemia is perhaps related to poorer outcomes.

About the examine

In the current retrospective examine, researchers assessed whether or not completely happy hypoxia in COVID-19 sufferers was an identifiable attribute in COVID-19 ARDS and related to the necessity for intensive care.

The authors carried out an observational cohort examine of adults admitted to Nottingham University Hospitals with a suspected or confirmed prognosis of COVID-19. Patient-related knowledge had been obtained from digital information from February 21, 2020, to August 31, 2021. Suspected sufferers had been included within the COVID-19-positive cohort if discovered optimistic for SARS-CoV-2 inside 10 days.

Nursing observations had been collected when a affected person was suspected of or confirmed with COVID-19 for 14 days till ICU admission, discharge, or in-hospital dying. Patient outcomes (ICU admission and all-cause mortality inside 60 days) and first prognosis codes had been extracted. FiO2, SFR, and ROX scores had been computed when not explicitly documented. Whether happiness, i.e., impaired physiologic response to hypoxemia, was related to poorer outcomes was evaluated by modeling the physiologic response to (absolute or relative) hypoxemia within the COVID-19 cohort alone.


From the 14,214 full observations amongst 1,586 sufferers, greater than 75% had been optimistic for COVID-19 inside 10 days of onset of signs. COVID-19 sufferers had a considerably increased temperature, respiratory charge, and decrease coronary heart charge than non-COVID-19 sufferers. Moreover, the COVID-19 cohort had a decrease ROX index (3.1/min), implying a better respiratory charge for a given diploma of relative hypoxemia.

An improve of 0.3 breath per minute (Bpm) in respiratory charge amongst all sufferers was noticed with each 1% lower in SpO2. Similarly, a 0.1 Bpm lower was famous for each 10 unit lower in SFR amongst all sufferers. Overall, COVID-19 sufferers with extreme absolute hypoxemia had a 1 Bpm increased respiratory charge, 7 bpm decrease coronary heart charge, and 0.3 °C increased temperature than non-COVID-19 sufferers.

For these within the COVID-19 cohort with extreme relative hypoxemia, the respiratory charge was increased by 2 Bpm, 10 bpm decrease coronary heart charge, and 0.2 °C increased temperature than non-COVID-19 sufferers. The ROX index was 2.088/min decrease in COVID-19 sufferers when adjusted for ethnicity and age, indicating a better respiratory charge throughout any given diploma of relative hypoxemia.

Among the COVID-19 sufferers, 67% of sufferers weren’t escalated to intensive care regardless of hypoxemia. Of these, 396 survived ICU keep, and 122 died inside 60 days of symptom improvement.  Across the COVID-19 sufferers with extreme relative hypoxemia, ICU-admitted sufferers had a 4 Bpm increased respiratory charge and eight bpm increased coronary heart charge than ward sufferers. The respiratory charge was increased for deceased sufferers by 5 Bpm and coronary heart charge by 10 bpm.

Similarly, for COVID-19 sufferers with absolute hypoxemia, these below intensive care had a 7 bpm increased coronary heart charge and 4 Bpm increased respiratory charge than survivors. Those who didn’t survive had a 5 Bpm increased respiratory charge and eight bpm increased coronary heart charge than survivors on ward-based care alone. After adjusting for ethnicity and age, the ROX index was considerably decrease in ICU-admitted and deceased sufferers than survivors.


The examine outcomes confirmed that COVID-19 sufferers have a markedly distinct physiologic response to hypoxemia (increased respiratory charge) to any degree of hypoxemia than non-COVID-19 topics. While asymptomatic hypoxemia is perhaps a phenomenon in any affected person with respiratory failure, it (happiness) will not be noticed extra regularly in COVID-19 sufferers than in non-COVID-19 sufferers.

The knowledge offered right here refuted that COVID-19 sufferers had been extra ‘happy’ with hypoxemia than non-COVID-19 topics. The authors acknowledge that there have been no compelling causes to assist a therapeutic strategy for COVID-19 sufferers with respiratory failure apart from at present accessible, confirmed commonplace ARDS care, nor do the findings assist that physiologic happiness was related to poorer outcomes.

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