The Dreaded Oxyhemoglobin Dissociation Curve
Few phrases bring agony to the ear quite as easily as “Now we’re going to talk about the oxyhemoglobin dissociation curve”. In reality, however, the idea behind the curve is a simple one, and one that providers of all levels should have a basic understanding of. Check out the podcast for more!
The Oxyhemoglobin Dissociation Curve
- Sigmoidal Shape (S-Shaped)
- Represents the percentage of hemoglobin that are saturated with oxygen depending on the partial pressure of oxygen (PO2) in the blood.
- Oxyhemoglobin represented on the y-axis (vertical)
- Partial pressure of oxygen represented on the x-axis (horizontal)
Shifts in the curve
- Shifts are normal depending upon the location in the body
- A global shift (throughout the body) in either direction is not good
- A RIGHT shift DECREASES oxygen’s affinity for hemoglobin
- A LEFT shift INCREASES oxygen’s affinity for hemoglobin
Causes of a Shift to the Left
- High pH (Alkalosis)
- Decreased Temperature
- Decreased CO2
- Fetal Hemoglobin
Jack, after the Titanic, sank — Left Shift
Causes of a Shift to the Right
- Low pH (Acidosis)
- Increased Temperature
- Increased CO2
- Increase in 2,3 BPG (2,3 Bisphosphoglyceric acid)
Burning Guy– Right Shift
Okay, so we know that a guy who is actually on fire has a slew of other problems we need to manage, and realistically a patient with heat exhaustion would be a better image. The guy on fire, however, will probably create a more lasting image.
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Varjavand N. The Interactive Oxyhemoglobin Dissociation Curve
Oxyhemoglobin Dissociation Curve. [accessed 2017 Sep 21].