Background: The diagnostic criteria for acute lung injury (ALI) and ARDS utilize the Pao_{2}/fraction of inspired oxygen (Fio_{2}) [P/F] ratio measured by arterial blood gas analysis to assess the degree of hypoxemia. We hypothesized that the pulse oximetric saturation (Spo_{2})/Fio_{2} (S/F) ratio can be substituted for the P/F ratio in assessing the oxygenation criterion of ALI.
Methods: Corresponding measurements of Spo_{2} (values ≤ 97%) and Pao_{2} from patients enrolled in the ARDS Network trial of a lower tidal volume ventilator strategy (n = 672) were compared to determine the relationship between S/F and P/F. S/F threshold values correlating with P/F ratios of 200 (ARDS) and 300 (ALI) were determined. Similar measurements from patients enrolled in the ARDS Network trial of lower vs higher positive end-expiratory pressure (n = 402) were utilized for validation.
Results: In the derivation data set (2,613 measurements), the relationship between S/F and P/F was described by the following equation: S/F = 64 + 0.84 × (P/F) [p < 0.0001; r = 0.89). An S/F ratio of 235 corresponded with a P/F ratio of 200, while an S/F ratio of 315 corresponded with a P/F ratio of 300. The validation database (2,031 measurements) produced a similar linear relationship. The S/F ratio threshold values of 235 and 315 resulted in 85% sensitivity with 85% specificity and 91% sensitivity with 56% specificity, respectively, for P/F ratios of 200 and 300.
Conclusion: S/F ratios correlate with P/F ratios. S/F ratios of 235 and 315 correlate with P/F ratios of 200 and 300, respectively, for diagnosing and following up patients with ALI and ARDS.