Black, Hispanic Race/Ethnicity Linked to Intraoperative Occult Hypoxemia

Black and Hispanic race/ethnicity are associated with increased odds for intraoperative occult hypoxemia, according to a study published in the May issue of Anesthesiology.

Garrett W. Burnett, M.D., from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, and colleagues extracted demographic and physiologic data from a departmental data warehouse for patients receiving an anesthetic that included at least one arterial blood gas between January 2008 and December 2019. For each patient, arterial oxygen saturation (Sao2) values were paired with concurrent oxygen saturation measured by pulse oximetry (Spo2). The association of Black, Hispanic, Asian, or other race/ethnicity versus White race/ethnicity with occult hypoxemia (Sao2 less than 88 percent despite Spo2 greater than 92 percent) was examined in the 92 to 100 percent Spo2 range.

The researchers analyzed 151,070 paired Sao2-Spo2 readings from 46,253 unique patients. Black and Hispanic versus White paired readings had significantly higher prevalence of occult hypoxemia (2.1 and 1.8 percent, respectively, versus 1.1 percent). Black and Hispanic race/ethnicity were associated with occult hypoxemia in the multivariable analysis (odds ratios, 1.44 and 1.31, respectively). No association with occult hypoxemia was seen for Asian and other race/ethnicity.

“We have found evidence that Black and Hispanic race/ethnicity are significantly associated with occult hypoxemia in the 92 to 100 percent Spo2 range in anesthetized patients,” the authors write.

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