Continuous monitoring of jugular venous oxygen saturation in head-injured patients.
The continuous measurement of jugular venous oxygen saturation (SjvO2) with a fiberoptic catheter is evaluated as a method of detecting cerebral ischemia after head injury. Forty-five patients admitted to the hospital in coma after severe head injury had continuous and simultaneous monitoring of SjvO2, intracranial pressure, arterial oxygen saturation, and end-tidal CO2. Cerebral blood flow, cerebral metabolic rates of oxygen and lactate, arterial and jugular venous blood gas levels, and hemoglobin concentration were measured every 8 hours for 1 to 11 days. Whenever SjvO2 dropped to less than 50%, a standardized protocol was followed to confirm the validity of the desaturation and to establish its cause. Correlation of SjvO2 values obtained by catheter and with direct measurement of O2 saturation by a co-oximeter on venous blood withdrawn through the catheter was excellent after in vivo calibration when there was adequate light intensity at the catheter tip (176 measurements: r = 0.87, p less than 0.01). A total of 60 episodes of jugular venous oxygen desaturation occurred in 45 patients. In 20 patients the desaturation value was confirmed by the co-oximeter. There were 33 episodes of desaturation in these 20 patients, due to the following causes: intracranial hypertension in 12 episodes, hypocarbia in 10, arterial hypoxia in six, combinations of the above in three, systemic hypotension in one, and cerebral vasospasm in one. The incidence of jugular venous oxygen desaturations found in this study suggests that continuous monitoring of SjvO2 may be of clinical value in patients with head injury.