Because central venous O2 saturation (superior vena cava, ScvO2) can be monitored with less patient risk than mixed venous O2 saturation (pulmonary artery, SvO2), we examined the correlations between SvO2 and ScvO2 over a broad range of cardiorespiratory conditions, including hypoxia, hemorrhage, and resuscitation in anesthetized dogs. The correlation coefficient (r) between SvO2 and ScvO2 in 179 simultaneously drawn blood samples from 22 dogs was 0.97. In another nine dogs, the two sites were continuously and simultaneously monitored with fiberoptic catheters; r was 0.96 with a mean difference of 3.7 +/- 2.9 percent (SD) saturation. In each dog the changes in ScvO2 closely paralleled the changes in SvO2. Although absolute values of ScvO2 are not sufficiently identical to SvO2 to calculate O2 uptake or pulmonary shunt precisely, close tracking of changes in the two sites across a wide range of hemodynamic conditions warrant further consideration of ScvO2 for patient monitoring of trends in O2 supply/demand.